We propose studies in carbon storage and exchange. We propose to work in disturbed and
undisturbed sites along a C3/C4 gradient (savanna to rainforest).
We propose to map the entire Amazon Basin using radar images from the Japanese
JERS-1 (Japanese Earth Resources Satellite) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). Because of the
radar’s ability to see through clouds, a sequence of radar images over this area
collected on each overpass of the JERS-1 satellite would result in a unique map of the
Amazon Basin in one 44 day repeat cycle.
There is a great deal of interest in the effect of the substantial flooding that occurs
along the Amazon. The JERS-1 satellite is particularly well suited to studying the extent
of flooding, due to the large amount of electromagnetic penetration to the ground through
the forest canopy at this wavelength: the radar waves penetrate to the smooth water
surface and "double bounce" off the trees trunks back to the radar, resulting in
a bright radar return for these areas.
This project will result in a unique data set, representing not only the extent of
inundation of the rainforests, but also mapping man made artifacts such as roads, cities,
cropland, and deforestation. This proposed map will be used by the international team of
investigators to examine the amount of deforestation present over the entire Amazon Basin.
Since radar observations are not hampered by clouds or rain, we will for the first time
get a "snapshot" of the current state of deforestation. Comparison of this data
set with past and future maps will enable the rate of deforestation to be estimated. In
addition, different biological habitats will be distinguishable in the radar images. This
data will be made available to scientists studying the Amazon initially through the
release of a CD-ROM set containing the data, and later on the Internet.
Radar images from JERS-1 have been used successfully to determine flood extent, basic
vegetation type (including clear-cuts), and to study changes in these parameters. We
propose to extend our development of algorithms which can be applied to JERS-1 data over
the entire Amazon to generate maps of flooding and vegetation type. These maps will be
verified against stream gauge date, vegetation maps, field studies, and complementary
remotely sensed data from selected sites. These correspond to NASA categories in Land
Surface Hydrologic Interfaces, Ecological Processes and Modeling, and Environmental
Consequences of Landcover Change and USGCP efforts in Biogeochemical Dynamics, and
Ecological Systems and Dynamics.
This project is a collaborative effort with scientists from the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL, U.S.), the University of California –(UCSB, U.S.), the Alaska SAR
Facility (ASF, U.S.), The National Institute for Space Research (INPE, Brazil), the
National Institute for Amazon Research (INPA, Brazil), the National Space Development
Agency of Japan (NASDA, Japan), and the British National Space Center (BNSC, UK).