Thursday, 20 August 2015

NERC GREENHOUSE project Summer School

As part of my involvement in the NERC-funded GREENHOUSE consortium, led by Mat Williams at Edinburgh, Andy and I were scanning at Harwood Forest in Northumberland this week. The NERC GREENHOUSE initiative covers 3 different consortia, attempting to provdie robust estimates of GHG fluxes over the UK land surface and coastal and ocean regions, from top-down, bottom-up measurement and modelling schemes.

The Summer School brought together 25 or so NERC-funded early career scientists (Postdocs and PhD students) from across the broad area of GHG research (land, atmospheres, oceans), for a week of demos, tutorials, lectures and practical sessions to showcase @NERCScience across land, ocean and atmosphere. We were showing the students how we can use terrestrial laser scanning to estimate above ground biomass, and forest structure and function, in the Sitka plantations at Harwood, alongside FR colleagues, Mike Perks, James Morison et al. The sun shone for at least one day, we got some scan data (see below) and it's another environment to try out our TLS methods (slightly less challenging logistically than Brazil, and slightly more homogeneous. Slightly).  It was a bit of blast from the past for me, having worked there a fair bit as a NERC Postdoc myself during the old NERC Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics. It was good to be back in such a lovely landscape; the Cheviot Hills and surroundings really are a stunning and remote, wild landscape. I took my bike with me and went out for a couple of lovely spins through the hills, rabbit-related injuries notwithstanding (honestly: a rabbit ran through my bicycle front wheel, throwing me over the bars and leaving me with fractured clavicle, 2 chipped vertebrae and numerous other painful contusions. Pesky wabbit - RIP).
View from the bike: Coquetdale, early morning.
The students seemed to enjoy the opportunity to engage with the field measurements and asked a lot of interesting questions, even though for some of them we were quite a long way from the sea.
Looking along the stand at Harwood towards the flux tower.
Andy scanning from the road, with the 35-40 year aged stand we are measuring to the right.
Sunshine! And a well-earned lunch break for the summer school gang.
Initial results show we are able to pull out the trunks up to the crowns very well, scanning at a slightly higher resolution than previously (0.02 deg). But the rain on day 2 meant we could only scan at 6 locations, so the small area of plot meant we had less detail from the upper part of the crowns than we have had for other, larger plots.
Oblique view of scanned plot, with the individual trees pulled out and coloured by height up to max of ~30m. 

Looking down on the canopy showing the crowns, again coloured by height. The trees are very similar in height and so the general trend of higher to lower (red to green) from left to right is a function of the underlying topography.
See up-to-date details from @GHGProg on Twitter.