Tuesday, 27 January 2015

ESA BIOMASS mission science meeting

This week at ESA's Earth Observation HQ (ESRIN) in Frascati, scientists with an interest in measuring forest C stocks and biomass more generally, are meeting to discuss the science aims and challenges of the ESA BIOMASS Earth Explorer mission. BIOMASS will make routine observations of P band (70 cm) radar, which is related to the amount of standing C in forests. 
ESA's BIOMASS mission: a slightly dodgy artist's impression (from ESA)
The meeting is to start thrashing out what exactly what we need to do to make the most of BIOMASS observations. In particular, there is a big focus on calibration and validation activities - BIOMASS will rely on calibration of the radar signal against other measures of C stocks, particularly from ground plots, but also airborne lidar. These will all rely in some way or another on allometry, and this is where the TLS comes in. There is a huge need for accurate estimates of C stocks from plot data, hence my invite to come and show what we can do and how this might be a very effective way of augmenting plot data and linking to airborne lidar for cal/val. This is an interesting and varied meeting, as it brings together a wide range of including forest and conservation experts, ecologists, lidar, radar and other EO specialists, modellers and so on. Good to see Ralph Dubayah here, long-tome lidar champion and PI of the NASA GEDI mission to be launched on the ISS around the same time as BIOMASS (2019), and which will make highly-complementary measurements. 

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