Characterizing hydrologic changes of Great Dismal Swamp using SAR/InSAR technology

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Jin Woo Kim1, Zhong Lu1 and Zhiliang Zhu2, (1)Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, United States, (2)USGS, Reston, VA, United States
Great Dismal Swamp is one of the largest, northernmost peatlands on the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and the swamp is underlain by a thick water-logged organic soil layer (peat) made up of dead and decaying plant material. The peatlands play a role as the sink of large amount of soil organic carbon and methane. However, the disturbance of the peatland negatively impacted the ecosystem and contributed to the climate change caused by the released greenhouse gas. Our SAR/InSAR methods observed the hydrologic changes in the peatlands, which is a key factor to conserve the wetland, through several methods. First, we compared averaged SAR intensity from C- and L-band SAR sensors with groundwater level changes, and deduced a linear relationship between the SAR backscattering intensity and the groundwater level change. Second, we extracted the inundated area during wet season from InSAR coherence. Third, we measured the relative water level changes in the inundated area using the interferometric phases. Finally, we estimated the groundwater level changes corresponding to the soil moisture changes from time-series InSAR method. Our results can provide the unique opportunity to understand the occurring hydrologic and vegetation changes in the Great Dismal Swamp.