Last week on June 10-11, we completed the third phase of the Europe campaign where we flew three sorties out of Stavanger, Norway, to participate in a Norwegian controlled oil spill test in the North Sea. We acquired L-band polarimetric SAR imagery over small controlled spills of different emulsions to develop and validate a SAR-based capability to accurately measure oil volumetric fraction for future spill response (PI: Cathleen Jones).
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Last week, we completed the second phase of the Europe campaign where we flew two sorties out of Munich, Germany over Oberpfaffenhofen Forest to test and refine repeat-pass PolInSAR and TomoSAR techniques for deriving forest height estimates and forest structure respectively (PI: Scott Hensley). The results from this study will be compared against those generated with the DLR F-SAR’s L-band radar.
We have successfully completed the Iceland deployment to study the mechanics of glacier flow and their response to changing climate (PI: Mark Simons and Brent Minchew of Caltech) and volcanic deformation processes over Bardarbunga and Askja volcanoes (PI: Paul Lundgren of JPL). The glacier study is a follow-on observation of previous UAVSAR deployments in summer 2012 and winter 2014. Six of the eight flights were repeat observations of the same glaciers, which will provide a great data set for studying glacier dynamics from 1 day to 7 days apart.
The L-band radar aboard the AFRC G-III departed for the 25-day Iceland/Germany/Norway deployment on Tuesday, May 19. We will spend 12 days in Iceland where 6 glacier and 2 volcano flights will be flown (PIs: Mark Simons and Paul Lundgren respectively). We will then transit to Munich, Germany and conduct two observations over two German forest sites in collaboration with DLR (PI: Scott Hensley). We will arrive in Stavanger, Norway on June 7 to participate in the week-long international North Sea Oil Spill exercise where scientists will use L-band polarimetric SAR imagery acquired over a c
The L-band radar flew over the Napa Valley earthquake area on October 20 to observe post-seismic activities. Journalists from the Discovery Channel of Canada was onboard the flight with UAVSAR Principal Investigator, Andrea Donnellan to film a news segment for the “Future Tech” series featuring UAVSAR. Data acquired on that flight were processed within a week and browse interferogram showed post-seismic fault slippage on the order of 6 cm since our last observation on August 29. This preliminary result (see attached image) was presented at the UAVSAR workshop last week.
In preparation for the Central/South America deployment in mid-March, we are compiling a collection of scientific significance briefs based on UAVSAR data acquired in prior years. Here is one from Dr. Kyle McDonald of the City College of New York that utilized UAVSAR data to image active and dormant river and stream channels in the Amazon basin that helped shape the evolution of plant and animal species in this mega-diverse ecosystem. This technic is directly applicable to space-based radar missions such as NISAR and Japan’s ALOS-II missions.
We are embarking on the month-long Central/South America deployment on Wednesday, 3/11/15. We will have 21 flights (19 science sorties and 2 transit flights) over 33 days imaging 11 countries where 90% of the flight hours are associated with volcano studies and the remaining hours include wetlands, ecology, archaeology, and cross-calibration with the Argentinian airborne synthetic aperture radar system. Attached is an overview of the deployment schedule and locations.
The first week of our Central/South America deployment has been full of excitement both from the scientific and logistic standpoints. We’ve successfully conducted 5 science flights, imaging volcanoes in Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador as well as the Panama Canal Watershed.
During the second week of our Central/South America deployment, we conducted 4 science flights where we imaged volcanoes in the Galapagos and the Andes in Ecuador, Peru, and Northern Chile. We also imaged coastal wetlands in Ecuador as well as Nazca lines, a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of a series of ancient geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert in southern Peru.
We have had some unexpected excitement in Antofagasta, Chile last week. Heavy rains in Chile’s Atacama Desert region last Tuesday/Wednesday caused flash floods, major power and communication outages, as well as airport closure. We had to scrub two local flights out of Antofagasta due to air traffic disruption and headed to Santiago a day early to regroup. In addition, we were not able to secure Bolivia flight clearance to image Bolivia without a Bolivian observer onboard the aircraft.