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The BIOMASS Mission: Mapping global forest biomass to better understand the terrestrial carbon cycle

Le Toan, T. and Quegan, S. and Davidson, M. and Baltzer, H. and Paillou, Philippe and Papathanassiou, Konstantinos and Plummer, S. and Rocca, F. and Saatchi, S. and Shugart, H. and Ulander, L. (2011) The BIOMASS Mission: Mapping global forest biomass to better understand the terrestrial carbon cycle. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 115 (11). Taylor & Francis. ISSN 0143-1161.

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In response to the urgent need for improved mapping of global biomass and the lack of any current space systems capable of addressing this need, the BIOMASS mission was proposed to the European Space Agency for the third cycle of Earth Explorer Core missions and was selected for Feasibility Study (Phase A) in March 2009. The objectives of the mission are 1) to quantify the magnitude and distribution of forest biomass globally to improve resource assessment, carbon accounting and carbon models, and 2) to monitor and quantify changes in terrestrial forest biomass globally, on an annual basis or better, leading to improved estimates of terrestrial carbon sources (primarily from deforestation); and terrestrial carbon sinks due to forest regrowth and afforestation. These science objectives require the mission to measure above-ground forest biomass from 70 degrees N to 56 degrees Sat spatial scale of 100-200 m, with error not exceeding +/- 20% or +/- 10 t ha(-1) and forest height with error of +/- 4 m. To meet the measurement requirements, the mission will carry a P-Band polarimetric SAR (centre frequency 435 MHz with 6 MHz bandwidth) with interferometric capability, operating in a dawn-dusk orbit with a constant incidence angle (in the range of 25 degrees-35 degrees) and a 25-45 day repeat cycle. During its 5-year lifetime, the mission will be capable of providing both direct measurements of biomass derived from intensity data and measurements of forest height derived from polarimetric interferometry. The design of the BIOMASS mission spins together two main observational strands: (1) the long heritage of airborne observations in tropical, temperate and boreal forest that have demonstrated the capabilities of P-band SAR for measuring forest biomass; (2) new developments in recovery of forest structure including forest height from Pol-InSAR, and, crucially, the resistance of P-band to temporal decorrelation, which makes this frequency uniquely suitable for biomass measurements with a single repeat-pass satellite. These two complementary measurement approaches are combined in the single BIOMASS sensor, and have the satisfying property that increasing biomass reduces the sensitivity of the former approach while increasing the sensitivity of the latter. This paper surveys the body of evidence built up over the last decade, from a wide range of airborne experiments, which illustrates the ability of such a sensor to provide the required measurements.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/114442/
Document Type:Article
Title:The BIOMASS Mission: Mapping global forest biomass to better understand the terrestrial carbon cycle
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Paillou, Philippeobs, bordeaux, franceUNSPECIFIED
Papathanassiou, KonstantinosUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date:November 2011
Journal or Publication Title:International Journal of Remote Sensing
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
Series Name:Remote Sensing of Environment
Keywords:Forest biomass; Carbon cycle; P-band SAR; Satellite mission; ESA Earth Explorer
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Security-relevant Earth Observation
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Microwaves and Radar Institute > Radar Concepts
Deposited By: Radzuweit, Sibylle
Deposited On:28 Sep 2017 13:37
Last Modified:10 Jan 2019 15:48

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