Tracking landscape-scale water status in high-latitude boreal systems is indispensible to understanding the fate of stored and sequestered carbon in a climate change scenario. Spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery provides critical information for water and moisture status in Alaskan boreal environments at the landscape scale. When combined with results from optical sensor analyses, a complementary picture of vegetation, biomass, and water status emerges. Whereas L-band SAR showed better inherent capacity to map water status, C-band had much more temporal coverage in this study. Analysis through the use of L- and C-band SARs combined with Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) enables landscape stratification by vegetation and by seasonal and interannual hydrology. Resultant classifications are highly relevant to biogeochemistry at the landscape scale. These results enhance our understanding of ecosystem processes relevant to carbon balance and may be scaled up to inform regional carbon flux estimates and better parameterize general circulation models (GCMs).
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Multitemporal L- and C-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar To Highlight Differences in Water Status Among Boreal Forest and Wetland Systems in the Yukon Flats, Interior Alaska
U.S. Geological Survey
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center