Using optical and microwave data from AQUA to study the Amazon rainforests

Type: Presentation

Venue: AGU Fall Meeting 2011


R. R. Nemani; Arindam Samanta; M. Jones; S. Ganguly; W. Wang; H. Hashimoto; J. S. Kimball; R. Myneni (2011) Using optical and microwave data from AQUA to study the Amazon rainforests. AGU Fall 2011 Meeting (invited)

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Amazon rainforests play a dominant role in the global climate system by exerting a strong control on the exchanges of carbon, water and the energy. A comprehensive understanding of the seasonal and interannual dynamics of these forests, however, is still lacking. While field measurements have contributed greatly to our understanding of Amazon forests, they represent a small fraction of Amazonia. Satellite data, representing near daily synoptic views of these forests, are probably one of the best ways to study them. Current efforts at using optical satellite data in the Amazon have generated significant interest as well as controversy. Persistent cloud cover during the wet season and aerosols during the dry season have made the use of optical satellite data rather difficult. AQUA, with sensors collecting information in both optical and microwave wavelengths, provides a unique opportunity to address some of the long-standing issues in applying remotely sensed data in the Amazon.

We will discuss the differences and similarities among optical, microwave products and ecosystem model results for representing seasonal and inter-annual variability of Amazon forests. Using products such as the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and Leaf Area Index (LAI) from MODIS, and Vegetation Optical Depth (VOD) from AMSR-E, we will demonstrate the unique capabilities that AQUA brings for studying tropical rainforests.