The First ISLSCP (International Satellite Land Surface Climatology Project) Field Experiment (FIFE) was conducted on the Konza Prairie in Kansas, initially during the summer of 1987. A followup experiment at the same location took place in 1989. The FIFE experiments are at the center of NASA's plan to develop a physically based approach to the use of satellite remote-sensing systems and a key component of ISLSCP. The general objectives of FIFE were to
Data Acquisition in FIFE
The data acquisition effort of FIFE can be divided into two broad categories: the monitoring effort and the Intensive Field Campaigns (IFCs).
Ground measurements were acquired at 32 sites within the Konza and were complemented by a number of other measurement sites (e.g., a dense network of 42 rain gauges in a watershed). A probability sample of sites were placed within strata representing the major spatial variation in soil depth, seasonally integrated incident solar radiation and management practice (e.g. grazing and burning).
Roughly 100 science investigators and support staff were working at the FIFE site during the IFCs. In addition to the selected investigators working in FIFE, there were two large groups of scientists and support staff conducting measurements on site. One group based at Kansas State University (Staff/KSU) carried out a wide range of measurements for the monitoring program and during IFCs. The Goddard Space Flight Center group (Staff/GSFC) supported experiment design, developed and operated the FIFE Information System (FIS) and provided administrative support.
As part of the experiment, three aircraft (NASA C-130, NASA Helicopter, and NOAA Aerocommander) took radiometric measurements using a variety of scanners, radiometers, and scatterometers operating over the visible, near infrared, thermal, and microwave wavelength intervals. Three other aircraft (Canadian Twin Otter, National Center for Atmospheric Research KingAir, and University of Wyoming KingAir) took flux measurements of heat, moisture, momentum, and carbon dioxide (Twin Otter only) fluxes over the site. These activities were closely coordinated with each other and with satellite overpasses. In all some 180 missions and over 400 flight hours of aircraft flight time were dedicated to data acquisition during FIFE.
Scaling Up Analysis (Micro to Macro)
One of the long-range objectives of FIFE is to make interdisciplinary connections between ground data, aircraft data, and finally satellite data. By making direct comparisons between ground data and corresponding aircraft data, scientists hope to learn about resolving the differences between the two data types. Once these differences -- how to get accurate "ground" data from aircraft overflights -- are understood, scientists can attempt to link aircraft data with satellite data. The eventual goal is to be able to accurately collect "ground" data from satellite overflights. This requires a great deal of new knowledge on how the atmosphere affects measurements and how small-scale trends can be detected within large-scale systems.