Monitoring and Modeling Crop Health and Water Use via in-situ, Airborne and Space-based Platforms

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Matthew F McCabe, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
The accurate retrieval of plant water use, health and function together with soil state and condition, represent key objectives in the management and monitoring of large-scale agricultural production. In regions of water shortage or stress, understanding the sustainable use of available water supplies is critical. Unfortunately, this need is all too often limited by a lack of reliable observations. Techniques that balance the demand for reliable ground-based data with the rapid retrieval of spatially distributed crop characteristics represent a needed line of research. Data from in-situ monitoring coupled with advances in satellite retrievals of key land surface variables, provide the information necessary to characterize many crop health and water use features, including evaporation, leaf-chlorophyll and other common vegetation indices. With developments in UAV and quadcopter solutions, the opportunity to bridge the spatio-temporal gap between satellite and ground based sensing now exists, along with the capacity for customized retrievals of crop information. While there remain challenges in the routine application of autonomous airborne systems, the state of current technology and sensor developments provide the capacity to explore the operational potential. While this presentation will focus on the multi-scale estimation of crop-water use and crop-health characteristics from satellite-based sensors, the retrieval of high resolution spatially distributed information from near-surface airborne and ground-based systems will also be examined.