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Recent ARSF-supported Science: 2011

2011 Normal UK flying

2011 Overseas flying

GB11-01 Anthony Beck: DART ARSF data collection - Detection of Archaeological Residues using remote sensing Techniques

Detection of Archaeological Residues using remote sensing Techniques (DART) is a three year, £815,000 AHRC and EPRSC initiative funded under the Science and Heritage programme and led by the School of Computing at the University of Leeds. To examine the complex problem of heritage detection DART has attracted a consortium consisting of 25 key heritage organisations, industry organisations, academic consultants and researchers from the areas of computer vision, geophysics, remote sensing, knowledge engineering and soil science.

Aerial and geophysical survey have substantially increased our understanding of the nature and distribution of archaeology. However, there is variable understanding of the physical, chemical, biological and environmental factors which produce the archaeological contrasts that are detected by the sensors. These factors vary geographically, seasonally and diurnally, meaning that the ability to detect features changes over time and space.

DART will develop a deeper understanding of the contrast factors and detection dynamics, particularly within traditionally 'difficult' areas (for example clay and pasture). This will allow the identification of appropriate sensors and conditions for feature detection. The successful detection of features in 'difficult' areas will provide a more complete understanding of the heritage resource which will impact on research, management and development control.

GB11-02 Andrew Ford: Investigating NIR laser penetration depths in very shallow water bodies

Using terrestrial airborne laser scanning (ALS) technologies in the littoral zone would expand survey capacity in one of the most inaccessible and dangerous environments studied by researchers from a wide variety of disciplines. Within the existing grey literature there is evidence to suggest that, in particular circumstances, ALS technologies will penetrate very shallow water-bodies. Quantification of this would allow the extension of topographic survey into benthetic areas, below the low-water mark, that are often difficult to access as well as ecologically sensitive. The benefits to a large number of disciplines interested in the measurement of riverine, estuarine or coastal environments and the features within them include the potential to extract thousands of extra square metres of intertidal topography from existing datasets that may be examined without further survey and bridge the gap between terrestrial survey and bathymetric data. Currently, this is unachievable because of the lack of concurrent ground-truth data. In the light of anticipated coastal change in our marine landscapes, facilitated topographic measurement, particularly from remote technologies, will be key to assessing the impacts climate change will have upon the ecosystems and man-made structures residing in these environments.

GB11-03 Alexandra Sanmark: The Assembly Project (TAP) - Meeting places in Northern Europe AD 400-1500

The Assembly Project - Meeting-places in Northern Europe AD 400-1500 (TAP) is an international collaborative research project on the role of assemblies ('thing sites') in the creation, consolidation and maintenance of collective identities, emergent polities and kingdoms in medieval Northern Europe.

The Assembly Project is funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area, 7th Framework Program of the European Commission) and consists of four individual projects, each focussing on different objectives and study areas within the overall project. As one of the TAP principal investigators, the PI of present application explores the establishment of the Norse thing organisation and assembly sites in the areas of Viking settlement and colonisation. This application concerns a LiDAR survey of ten thing sites in Shetland, which form part of this individual project.

The project aims to offer a large-scale study of thing sites in Viking age and medieval Northern Europe. The research questions will be addressed via multi-disciplinary research, using archaeological, historical, geographical and ethnographical methods. In order to produce a set of comparative data, all research questions will be approached in a methodological framework that will use a joint GIS as an important analytical tool, integrating visual analysis, survey and excavation data.

GB11-04 Jim McQuaid: A Study of Land-Atmosphere Coupling using an Airborne platform (LACAP)

Currently the impact of land cover on the exchange of water and energy and the interaction of this exchange with the soil-water balance during heatwaves is largely unknown. In recent years, European droughts have led to significant economic losses, and significant loss of life. It has been shown that water-stress can exacerbate the effects of drought locally, and may also sustain the atmospheric circulations which are associated with low rainfall. We aim to measure the boundary layer state over surfaces of differing water availability and measure the effect of the surfaces atmospheric state and turbulent fluxes, including chemical composition. Flight lines will be flown over transects showing large gradients across surface features such as Land Surface Temperature, PAR (photosynthetically active radiation, a proxy for vegetation) and soil moisture.

This project follow a very recent NCAS funded flight (B557) of the FAAM 146 aircraft which demonstrated that these features do exist and there is evidence of there being an atmospheric connection from the surface temperatures and also the 3-d winds. We request two pairs of flights over the low-lying terrain of East Anglia where surface inhomogeneities tend to be reduced and flight restrictions are less of a hindrance.

GB11-05 Ben Barrett: ClearFlux - London cross sectional flights for flux measurements and vertical profiling of CO2, O3 and PM

The primary aim of the ClearFlux programme is to provide measurements that will further understanding of the composition and movement of air pollution above London's urban canopy. The proposed flight plan will allow calculation of CO2 fluxes within London at a higher spatial resolution than those currently available from ground or tower-based measurements. Furthermore, CO2, O3, and particle number measurements will allow a unique verification of vertical pollutant profiles generated by the CMAQ chemical transport model being developed by King's College London and used by the ClearfLo consortium.

Two instruments will be trialled during these flights in addition to existing ARSF monitoring equipment. CO2 measurements will be made using an NDIR instrument used during similar flight campaigns in Spain. A fast response nanoparticle counter will be used to provide size fractionation below that of the existing GRIMM optical particle counter. The existing TECO O3 analyser will also be utilised.

This precursor to the ClearfLo intensive campaign in 2012 will provide an opportunity for the proposed methodologies and instrumentation to be tested. It complements the LIMEx ARSF proposal, which aims to characterise the flow of PM and O3 into London from the south west. Finally, it will provide measurements which will accelerate transport model development early in the ClearfLo programme.

EU11-01 David Rippin: The Geometry and Dynamics of Cold Arctic Glaciers - Kårsaglaciären, Northern Sweden

The dynamic behaviour of small cold-based (i.e. well below the pressure melting point throughout) Arctic glaciers is poorly known because they are traditionally thought to be very slow-moving and thus to have minimal geomorphological impact. However, they presently contribute a significant amount (~0.13mm/yr s.l.) to the oceans, and there is increasing evidence that with warming air temperatures their dynamism will increase. We are recipients of the 2010 Royal Geographical Society Peter Fleming Award and a Royal Society Research Grant, both to study the dynamics of Kårsaglaciären, a small glacier in Northern Sweden, using innovative high resolution techniques. We have self-funded a ground penetrating radar survey of the glacier, that took place in 2009, and this reveals the glacier to be cold. Estimates of its size suggest it is representative of most Arctic glaciers, and so it is an ideal focus for our study of cold glacier dynamics. Our request to the ARSF to survey this glacier is in order for us to accurately constrain the glacier's surface topography and margins, so as to facilitate our determination of ice velocity, and to provide crucial up-to-date boundary conditions for modelling of future glacier dynamic behaviour under scenarios of climate change.

EU11-02 Jane Hart: Validating and enhancing a wireless sensor network to investigate glacier stick-slip motion at Skalafellsjökull, Iceland

Recent studies of continuous measurements of glacier velocities have indicated that ice motion is commonly episodic and it has been proposed that this reflects stick-slip motion similar to the movements associated with earthquakes. These processes are a vital component of glacier behaviour and need to be considered in any glaciological or sedimentological model.

This project will use new Glacsweb probes (to measure the 'stick' phase), along with surface dGPS and accelerometers (to measure the 'slip' phase) to track the propagation of the glacier earthquakes through the ice and the till, combined with LiDAR and aerial photography.

The specific research questions the project will address are:

  1. What is the relationship between stick-slip motion, water pressure and till deformation? and
  2. How extensive is subglacial thrusting, and is this a significant component of glacier motion?

The LiDAR and aerial photography data will provide both validation and enhancement of the project by providing spatial changes in velocity across the glacier; changes in vertical glacier height (to track basal water storage) and the location and significance of subglacial till thrust sheets.

EU11-03 David Coomes: Environmental determinants of plant community structure and diversity in Mediterranean evergreen forests

Climate and land use changes in the Mediterranean bioregion are predicted to have dramatic effects on forest ecosystems and biodiversity. The study of how these forests change over environmental gradients is therefore highly topical. Lidar and other remote sensing provide important tools for such investigation.

We have been using lidar data for a Portuguese study area, to model canopy and understorey vegetation structure and discriminate different forest species assemblages. CASI hyperspectral imagery is being prepared for data fusion and improvement of these models.

Based on this proven methodology, we now wish to measure how these forests change over gradients of topography-controlled climate and soil properties. Of particular interest is the role of canopy trees, through sub-canopy shading effects and influence of litterfall on nutrient recycling and availability, in shaping the development of understorey vascular plant communities along these gradients.

A relatively well preserved and spatially extensive forest system is required for this research. The best opportunity is afforded by the Los Alcornocales, a protected Natural Park which encompasses the most extensive cork oak forests in Iberia. Their study promises to have wide application for ecological understanding and conservation planning.

EU1-04 Partrick Osborne: Hyperspectral monitoring of a Mediterranean ecosystem - Castro Verde 2011

Remote sensing products are a reliable and often unique information source for the description and quantification of ecosystems and their services. Their value will be further increased by upcoming space-borne hyperspectral data, e.g. from the Environmental Mapping and Analysis Program (EnMAP). Such data require further algorithmic developments and intensive studies in different ecosystems to explore new opportunities and limitations. In the proposed project, hyperspectral and laser scanning (LiDAR) data will be acquired for the Castro Verde region in southern Portugal at two spatial resolutions. The area is characterized by a strong natural gradient in terms of soil quality, vegetation and land use and offers multiple opportunities for ecosystem assessments with applied and methodological foci. A set of kernel-based approaches for combined qualitative-quantitative analyses will be developed for accurate ecosystem mapping. Methodological developments will be assessed with regard to the two spatial resolutions to help elucidate scale issues of future space-borne hyperspectral analyses. A survey of steppe birds will be performed in parallel and results from the remote sensing analyses will be evaluated in habitat models. The analysis and outcomes of this study will be complemented by data and results from a 2006 CASI campaign of the same region.