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Recent ARSF-supported Science: 2012

2012 Normal UK flying

2012 Overseas flying

GB12-01 Doerthe Tetzlaff: Using high-resolution LiDAR to understand microtopographic controls on the carbon dynamics and ecohydrology in a headwater catchment

Valley bottom peat-dominated wetlands are critical areas for stream runoff production in UK uplands. These areas exert a strong control on the quantity and quality of downstream river flows; acting as "hot spots" influencing both flood generation by overland flow and the rapid transport of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from soils to streams. The influence of such areas is highly dynamic, as saturation zones generating overland flows expand and contract according to prevailing and antecedent hydro-climatic conditions. The hydrological function of such areas is only crudely parameterised in hydrological and hydrochemical models, because the microtopography of these relatively flat areas is poorly represented by existing Digital Terrain Models (DTMs). These DTMs are currently only based on 10*10m interpolated grids, yet these can only crudely determine how areas of saturation expand and connect catchment sources of runoff and carbon to the channel network. LiDAR data has the potential to revolutionise such understanding, by providing high resolution Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) of the microtopography of valley bottom wetlands, which can show how saturation areas are likely to expand and mobilize runoff and DOC. provided by VNIR and SWIR-derived data. Here we propose the acquisition of NERC ARSF remote sensed LiDAR, VNIR and SWIR (for analysis of vegetation and moisture patterns) data in an intensively studied catchment in Scotland. The resulting added value to existing hydrological and hydrochemical data sets and models will facilitate a transformational advance in scientific understanding.

GB12-02 Lisa Norton: Loweswater catchment survey

The Loweswater catchment in Cumbria has been intensively mapped and studied as part of a recent Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) project investigating the potential for community catchment management. The catchment, whilst small, is highly variable ranging from steep rocky slopes to flat areas of grassland. The RELU study provided high quality data on habitats, landscape features and vegetation as well as human management impacts and lake water quality. The approach has provided valuable data to help understand options for more sustainable management of the catchment. Methods used for catchment mapping were identical to those used for the Countryside Survey 2007. Aerial survey data (including LIDAR data) will enable investigation of the extent to which ground survey data is comparable/ complementary to aerial data. Areas of comparison will include; habitat and landscape feature (e.g. walls, hedges, lines of trees, individual trees etc) extents and quality (e.g. structure, biodiversity), the potential for identifying possible point sources for pollution and the extent to which aerially observed data can provide information on human/livestock numbers. EA LIDAR data is not available for the catchment.

GB12-03 Peter Hunter: High spatial resolution hyperspectral remote sensing of bio-optical properties and biogeochemical constituents in optically complex UK lakes

There is increasing recognition that lakes play an important role in carbon and other biogeochemical cycles, regulate and respond to climate changes at local to global scales, and provide multiple ecological services to society. However, lakes are fragile and highly sensitive to environmental change. Currently, our ability to monitor lake responses to environmental change is limited by the number, size, distribution of these ecosystems. The use of remote sensing for lake monitoring is complicated by their complex optical properties, which are a nonlinear function of several independently varying optically active components. Consequently, many standard satellite algorithms for the estimation of biogeochemical parameters breakdown over lake waters. Further, while new algorithms have been developed specifically for lakes they have not been widely validated and we currently have a very poor understanding of the factors affecting the performance of algorithms and the extent to which this varies across different lake types. This is a serious obstacle to operational remote sensing of lake systems from both airborne and satellite platforms. This project will build on the highly successful 2010 EUFAR campaign in Lake Balaton (EU10/03) through an inter-comparison of atmospheric correction models and biogeochemical algorithms over a range of lakes representative of those found in the UK.

GB12-04 Alan Blackburn: Developing the use of multi-temporal LiDAR data for quantifying forest dynamics

Forests are highly dynamic ecosystems however our ability to quantify the processes of growth, disturbance and regeneration is very restricted. LiDAR data have the potential to provide such information but techniques for analysing multi-temporal data are in their infancy. In particular, quantifying dynamics over appropriate time scales necessitates the use of LiDAR data acquired by different sensors under different operational conditions. Therefore, this project aims to develop and apply appropriate techniques for analysing multi-temporal LiDAR data of varying quality. We kindly request acquisition of Leica ALS50-II data for two sites, obtained using a range of sensor and flight configurations. Contemporaneous field survey data, together with analysis of Leica RCD105 images will be used for calibrating the LiDAR data and validating the techniques used to derive forest parameters. The techniques developed will be applied to multi-temporal LiDAR data for both sites and combined with tree species information obtained from AISA hyperspectral imagery, to fully characterize the growth, disturbance and regeneration dynamics at the sites. This will be one of a very small number of studies to use multi-temporal LiDAR data for quantifying forest dynamics; it will cover the longest time period and be the first to focus on temperate broadleaved forest.

GB12-05 Ross Hill: Predicting the consequences of habitat & landscape change on woodland birds

We propose to combine long-term bird population and breeding data with a repeat acquisition of LiDAR and hyperspectral data across an interval of 7 to 12 years to examine temporal changes in woodland structure and composition and how these influence bird-habitat relationships and hence population abundance, distribution and stability. Using the remotely sensed data we will quantify changes in the woodland due to both management activity and natural processes for woods of different sizes, types and ages. We will examine the spatial and temporal stability of species territory locations within woods in relation to structure and composition and will investigate how these relationships differ between different woods and with site age. We will examine how canopy and understory characteristics within breeding territories influence parameters of reproductive success and how these relationships vary between different woods and across time in relation to structural change and weather/climate conditions. At a larger scale, we will model the effects on bird population dynamics of adding new woodland to an existing landscape in relation to patch size, age, spatial arrangement and connectivity, and examine the temporal consequences of simultaneous versus staggered planting regimes.

The work will be based in Cambridgeshire, centred on a 58 km2 block of landscape around Monks Wood National Nature Reserve (52°24'N, 0°14'W) plus two additional adjacent sites (one woodland: Brampton Wood, 132 ha, 52°19'N; one restored gravel pit site: Cow Lane, 90 ha, 52°20'N, 0°08'W). These are all sites for which the ARSF has flown data within the past 10 years; the repeat acquisition will enable us to assess woodland change and to study the landscape characteristics between the woodland study areas.

GB12-06 Anthony Beck: DART ARSF data collection - Detection of Archaeological Residues using remote sensing Techniques

The overall aim of this research is to develop analytical methods for identifying and quantifying gradual changes and dynamics associated with near-surface archaeological residues (ARs) under different environmental and land-management conditions. It specifically focuses on understanding archaeological detection dynamics through hyperspectral remote sensing and how local ground spectro-radiometry readings can be extrapolated to a captured scene. The research will extend previous work supported by NERC ARSF (e.g., Bennett et al., 2011) by focussing on arable landscapes which account for a greater portion of the UK. ARs in these environments are under threat from land-management techniques (especially deep ploughing).

The proposed research is twinned with the AHRC/EPSRC funded DART project which has the wider aim of improving the understanding of archaeological detection dynamics using a range of measurement techniques. An understanding of how different Remote Sensing technologies detect contrast caused by different underlying factors under different environmental conditions, can lead to the deployment of sensors, and survey techniques, which are likely to detect a greater range of ARs, in particular those who express their contrast outside the visible or in very small wavelength bands. This understanding will allow sensor deployment at times when ARs have the greatest likelihood of being detected.

GB12-07 David Hughes: Temporal and spatial assessment of changes in soil moisture and in topographical deformation on contrasting geological settings on the East coast of Northern Ireland

Airborne survey using LiDAR, photogrammetry and hyperspectral remote sensing is requested at two locations on the NE coast of Northern Ireland. Both sites are currently under investigation as part of funded research programmes. These data will create immense opportunities to extend the research value.

The Antrim coast road passes through unstable coastal geology. Four landslides, predominantly in Jurassic clays, will be examined. The Glen catchment is currently monitored for the hydrological connections between surface and groundwater through glacial tills. The role of soil moisture is the common theme and is central to both sites in determining the hydrogeology and link with climate.

The focus of the proposed research is to assess the usefulness of hyperspectral data to monitor temporal and spatial changes in soil moisture. This will be achieved by undertaking four airborne surveys, six months apart, in winter and summer. For the Antrim coastal slides soil moisture mapping will indicate areas of recharge and discharge and improve understanding of hydrogeology and slide mechanisms. For the Glen catchment, mapping will verify existing hydrogeological models and delineate critical source areas for runoff. Incorporation of Lidar data should monitor rates of movement of slide masses and will improve the topographic resolution.

GB12-08 Richard Thompson: Mapping of plastic contamination along shorelines with airborne hyperspectral remote sensing

Annually more than 260 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide, of which an estimated 10% end up as debris in the oceans. Such debris ranges from <1mm to meters in size and may persist for centuries. Plastic debris is harmful to wildlife, affecting over 230 marine species and also has economic impacts for fisheries and tourism. Quantities of plastic debris are increasing and comprise a wide range of items including packaging materials, rope, netting and sewage related debris. However, our understanding of absolute quantities of debris and accumulation rates is hampered by the time-consuming nature of observational data collection, and considerable temporal and spatial variability. We propose to test the feasibility of airborne hyperspectral remote sensing to detect plastic debris and quantify its surface cover on beaches. A pilot study has shown that plastic, regardless of polymer type and including weathered and degraded material, is readily separable from sand and non-plastic materials in the shortwave infrared part of the spectrum. We will further test the extent that floating debris can be detected. Remote sampling will be validated by quantification of plastic on shorelines and in experimental floating arenas.

GB12-09 James Lee: Airborne Measurements during ClearfLo (AMClear)

The Clean air for London (ClearfLo) project, is a large consortium led by Professor Stephen Belcher of the University of Reading which will began in 2010. Clearflo seeks to provide integrated measurements of the meteorology, composition and particulate loading of London's urban atmosphere, made at street level and at elevated sites, complemented by modelling, to improve predictive capability for air quality. The aim of the AMClear project is to provide additional measurements to those made as part of ClearfLo, providing vertical profiles of CO2, O3, CO, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulates upwind, over and downwind of London. These measurements will be integrated with the full ClearfLo dataset, allowing inflow, processing and outflow of London air pollutants to be more fully investigated than with solely ground based measurements and providing a link between the various sites and the wider atmosphere. We are requesting 20 flying hours and envisage flights taking place during June or July 2012. These will be complimentary to the LIMEx (McQuaid) and ClearFlux (Barratt) flying (both already funded through ARSF direct access), with flight plans being a combination of the LIMEx upwind and ClearFlux London cross section and downwind tracks, but taking place during the ClearfLo ground based summer IOP.

GB12-10 Jim McQuaid: A Study of Land-Atmosphere Coupling using an Airborne platform 2012 (LACAP2012)

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. Water-stress can exacerbate the effects of drought locally, and may also sustain the atmospheric circulations associated with low rainfall. We aim to measure the boundary layer state over surfaces of differing water availability and measure the effect of the surface's atmospheric state and turbulent fluxes, including chemical composition. This project follow a recent NCAS funded flight (B557) of the FAAM 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. Ideally flights will be conducted during water-stress (drought) conditions, although baseline flights in unstressed conditions will also be valuable. Therefore, we request the opportunity, where possible, to fly at reasonably short notice (e.g. few days' notice) in times of drought conditions.

GB120-13 Anne Verhoef: High resolution airborne remote sensing data to support the FUSE project

Improved understanding of the functioning of hydrological systems and dependent ecology is essential for optimal environmental management. Floodplains in particular are important due to the ecosystem services they provide. However, floodplain ecosystems can be very sensitive to changes in hydrological regime. The proposed project, FUSE, aims to advance the knowledge on the interaction between the hydrological regime and the functioning of plant communities in floodplain meadows, at a variety of scales. A better understanding of these vulnerable ecosystems will ultimately allow improved environmental management, under current and future conditions.

This aim will be achieved by sophisticated high-resolution model-data fusion involving: underground wireless measurement technologies; high-resolution hierarchical observational data (in-situ as well as remote sensing); as well as state-of-the-art modelling tools.

In the FUSE project the main modelling tool concerns a Soil Vegetation Atmosphere Transfer model that supports direct interpretation of EO data. This novel model, SCOPE (Van der Tol et al., 2009), will be used for a coherent integration of underground and above-ground key biophysical and chemical processes; it will be extended with a multi-layer below-ground component, in order to account for nutrients, soil temperature and groundwater depth/soil moisture content on plant physiology and connected species composition.

The ARSF airborne data would serve as an adjunct to field and satellite data for inverting the SCOPE model to extract high-resolution biophysical parameters. This should give us the necessary spatial resolution to bridge between field measurements and satellite pixels.

EU12-11 Tom Bradwell: Ice-cap surface change and glacier flow variability in Iceland

Melting ice caps and mountain glaciers are currently the major contributor to global sea level rise. Recent warming trends since 1995 have accelerated this melting, particularly at higher latitudes where climatic fluctuations are enhanced through complex feedbacks. This proposal is to determine the surface elevation change and flow velocity of climatically sensitive outlet glaciers and ice caps in Iceland. Working in close collaboration with scientists in Iceland (IMO), this proposal builds on state-of-the-art £500k LiDAR surveys conducted in 2008-2011 by an international consortium. Repeating key areas of these surveys will allow this research project to make high-resolution ice-cap-wide measurements of glacier surface change and flow variability. These results will ascertain the extent of ice-cap change, overall balance gradient changes (thinning vs thickening), as well as the velocity distribution and style of glacier motion across whole glacier catchments. Importantly, integrating the detailed terrestrial-LiDAR glacier monitoring work being undertaken by BGS (at Virkisjökull) with the glaciological investigations and wireless-probe research by the University of Southampton (at Skálafellsjökull) provides crucial ground calibration whilst optimising resources. Finally, the combination of airborne, ice-surface and subglacial data provide a unique opportunity to derive the first integrated view of glacier systems in Iceland.

EU12-12 David Pyle: Capturing ongoing deformation and degassing at Santorini volcano, Greece

We aim to analyse recent deformation and degassing at Santorini volcano, which has been in unrest since early 2011. Soil-gas measurements show a sharp increase in CO2 flux (to > 20 tonnes/day). cGPS measurements reveal substantial ongoing deformation, with > 6 cm of extension and uplift around the caldera. We propose that there has been significant deformation of the active Kameni islands, which were last surveyed in 2004, and wish to collect a new suite of LiDAR data to quantify the deformation field. We shall use high-resolution LiDAR to map the active fractures both on the Kameni islands, and on Thera island (Santorini), where it is intersected by a prominent regional lineament. A new high-resolution DEM of part of Thera will provide the topographic baseline for TerraSAR-X imagery to quantify the recent motion along the Colombos line. We also propose to collect hyperspectral data over the Kameni islands to map vegetation stress and the hydrothermal alteration associated with active fumaroles and fractures; and to test whether the strong point sources of CO2 emission, can be detected directly from hyperspectral data.
These new data will help to substantially improve our understanding of the behaviour of dangerous volcanoes during geodetic crises.