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.