Construction of an Earth System Data Record of Inundated Wetlands Using ALOS PALSAR

Kyle McDonald(1), Catherine Prigent(6), Bruce Chapman(1), Erika Podest(1), Laura Hess(2), Mahta Moghaddam(3), John Kimball(4) and Elaine Matthews(5)

(1) Jet Propulsion Lab, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, United States
(2) University of California at Santa Barbara, , Santa Barbara, CA, United States
(3) The University of Michigan, 1301 Beal Ave, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
(4) The University of Montana, 311 Biostation Lane, Polson, MT, United States
(5) NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2880 Broadway, New York, NY 10014, United States
(6) LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, Paris, France


Wetlands exert major impacts on global biogeochemistry, hydrology, and biological diversity. The extent and seasonal, interannual, and decadal variation of inundated wetland area play key roles in ecosystem dynamics. Wetlands contribute approximately one fourth of the total methane annually emitted to the atmosphere and are identified as the primary contributor to interannual variations in the growth rate of atmospheric methane concentrations. Climate change is projected to have a pronounced effect on global wetlands through alterations in hydrologic regimes, with some changes already evident. Despite the importance of these environments in the global cycling of carbon and water and to current and future climate, the extent and dynamics of global wetlands remain poorly characterized and modeled, primarily because of the scarcity of suitable regional-to-global remote-sensing data for characterizing their distribution and dynamics.

We report on construction of an Earth System Data Record (ESDR) of Inundated Wetlands to facilitate investigations on the role of inundated wetlands in climate, biogeochemistry, hydrology, and biodiversity. PALSAR-based components of the ESDR consist of fine-resolution (100m) maps of wetland extent, vegetation type, and seasonal inundation dynamics for continental-scale areas covering crucial wetland regions. The complete ESDR will also include a global monthly mapping of inundation extent at ~25 km resolution for the period 1992-2009, derived from multiple satellite observations and will provide the first accurate, consistent and comprehensive global-scale data set of wetland inundation and vegetation, including continental-scale multitemporal and multi-year monthly inundation dynamics at multiple scales.

This work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, at the University of California at Santa Barbara, at The University of Michigan, and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and at the University of Montana under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.



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