NASA’s NI-SAR Observing Strategy and Data Availability for Agricultural Monitoring and Assessment

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Paul Siqueira1, Ralph Dubayah2, Josef M Kellndorfer3, Sassan S Saatchi4 and Bruce D Chapman4, (1)University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, United States, (2)Organization Not Listed, Washington, DC, United States, (3)Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA, United States, (4)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
The monitoring and characterization of global crop development by remote sensing is a complex task, in part, because of the time varying nature of the target and the diversity of crop types and agricultural practices that vary worldwide. While some of these difficulties are overcome with the availability of national and market-derived resources (e.g. publication of crop statistics by the USDA and FAO), monitoring by remote sensing has the ability of augmenting those resources to better identify changes over time, and to provide timely assessments for the current year’s production.

Of the remote sensing techniques that are used for agricultural applications, optical observations of NDVI from Landsat, AVHRR, MODIS and similar sensors have historically provided the majority of data that is used by the community. In addition, radiometer and radar sensors, are often used for estimating soil moisture and structural information for these agricultural regions. The combination of these remote sensing datasets and national resources constitutes the state of the art for crop monitoring and yield forecasts.

To help improve these crop monitoring efforts in the future, the joint NASA-ISRO SAR mission known as NI-SAR is being planned for launch in 2020, and will have L- and S-band fully polarimetric radar systems, a fourteen day repeat period, and a swath width on the order of several hundred kilometers. To address the needs of the science and applications communities that NI-SAR will support, the systems observing strategy is currently being planned such that data rate and the system configuration will address the needs of the community. In this presentation, a description of the NI-SAR system will be given along with the currently planned observing strategy and derived products that will be relevant to the overall GEOGLAM initiative.