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New satellite techniques for looking at climate change
Date:1/30/2009

ch he will update this year. ESA is supporting ALOS as a 'Third Party Mission'. This means ESA uses its multi-mission European ground infrastructure and expertise to acquire, process and distribute data from the satellite to its wide scientific user community.

Cloude's findings are now undergoing validation by being compared with data from Forest Research, Great Britain's governmental department responsible for the protection and expansion of forests.

Another Earth Observation satellite in orbit equipped with the polarimetric mode is Canada's Radarsat-2.

Dr Ridha Touzi, a Senior Research Scientist at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, is working in collaboration with Parks Canada to use the polarimetric mode aboard Radarsat-2 to map and monitor the wetlands in the Wapusk National Park.

Using the Convair 580 airborne SAR, he demonstrated that polarimetric data could distinguish fens from bogs in the Mer Bleu wetlands near Ottawa, Canada. Fens and bogs are two classes of wetlands, present in northern regions. The water level in fens is around 20 cm below the peat surface, while the water level in bogs is 45 cm below the peat surface.

It is well established that a lot of bogs in the Northern regions have reverted to fens because of global warming. Distinguishing this transformation is very important because the park's bogs are a critical habitat for polar bears, with more than 1 500 living there.

Using the polarimetric technique with radar data, Touzi is able to detect the level of water, which is used to characterise the wetland's type. With continued Radarsat-2 monitoring, it will be possible to detect changes that represent transformation and allow park officials to take action and minimise the threat.

Along with applications, scientists discussed the latest developments in SAR polarimetry and polarimetric interferometry and the need for the next generation of radar satellites to be equipped wit
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Contact: Mariangela D'Acunto
mariangela.dacunto@esa.int
39-069-418-0856
European Space Agency
Source:Eurekalert

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