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Synergistic Use of SAR and Lidar Data for Terrestrial Ecology Research - Ecological Society of America Workshop 27

Keywords: GEDI, Daymet, LiDAR, SAR, NISAR, Earthdata Search


The recent airborne- and space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and LiDAR observations at both global and regional scales provide never-been-available sources of remote sensing data for terrestrial ecology research. Characterizing vegetation structure at scale is vital for understanding ecological pattern-process linkages. These scale-level structural attributes can be used as proxies for vegetation vertical structure and ecosystem productivity. The NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) provides valuable SAR and LiDAR assets freely available to the public. Those assets include the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) level 3 canopy metrics and level 4 aboveground biomass products, airborne LiDAR data (e.g., Carbon Monitoring System), SAR data from airborne platforms (e.g., AIRSAR and UAVSAR) and spaceborne platforms (SMAP, ALOS PALSAR, RADARSAT, Sentinel-1, and NISAR starting 2023) archived at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC) and the Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) DAAC. In addition, integrating analytics with climatic variables provided by the Daymet dataset (archived at the ORNL DAAC), can improve understanding of terrestrial ecosystems. Daymet provides 1-km gridded daily surface weather and climatology data over North America from 1980 to present.

The objectives of this workshop are three-fold: (1) introduce different SAR and LiDAR data sources valuable to the terrestrial ecology research, available currently and in the near future from NASA EOSDIS; (2) present data techniques and workflows that ecologists can deploy to synergistically explore these multitude of data sources; and (3) showcase terrestrial ecology science applications that leveraged multi-source SAR and LiDAR data.

Dr. Rupesh Shrestha – ORNL

Dr. Franz J. Meyer – Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF), University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Michele Thornton – ORNL
Dr. Yaxing Wei – ORNL
Dr. Sassan Saatchi, NASA-ISRO SAR Mission (NISAR) Science Team, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Dr. John Armston, GEDI Science Team, University of Maryland