Improving Aboveground Carbon Estimates in Dryland Ecosystems with Airborne LiDAR and Satellite Laser Altimetry

Thursday, 18 December 2014: 2:55 PM
Nancy F Glenn, Rupesh Shrestha, Aihua Li and Lucas Spaete, Boise State University, Boise, ID, United States
Numerous studies have demonstrated the utility of ground and airborne LiDAR data to quantify ecosystem structure. In addition, data from satellite-based laser altimetry (e.g. ICESat’s GLAS instrument) have been used to estimate vegetation heights, aboveground carbon, and topography in forested areas. With the upcoming ICESAT-2 satellite scheduled to launch in 2017, we have the potential to map vegetation characteristics and dynamics in other ecosystems, including semiarid and low-height ecosystems, at global and regional scales. The ICESat-2 satellite will include the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) with a configuration of 6 laser beams with 532 nm wavelength and photon counting detectors. We will demonstrate the potential of ICESat-2 to provide estimates of vegetation structure and topography in a dryland ecosystem by simulating the configuration of the ATLAS mission. We will also examine how airborne LiDAR can be used together with ICESat-2 and other satellite data to achieve estimates of aboveground carbon. We will explore how these data may be used for future monitoring and quantification of spatial and temporal changes in aboveground carbon and topography.