Brown Bag Seminar: Rasmus Fensholt

Institute of Geography, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Earth Observation (EO) provides the only realistic means of studying vegetation productivity at global, continental and national scales. Agriculture and rangeland activities constitute important sectors to the livelihoods of the population of semi-arid areas worldwide and in Africa in particular. The payloads aboard space satellites used to monitor vegetation have improved significantly. A new generation of EO data has become available and for environmental monitoring the American MODIS (Terra and Aqua), the European SPOT Vegetation, ENVISAT MERIS and the geostationary Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) are promising as they offer improved radiometric, spectral and temporal resolution. The point of departure in this seminar is in situ measured data from field work campaigns in Senegal. The objective of the field work is to evaluate the biophysical variables derived from EO data to develop EO-based methods for national and regional assessments of above ground primary production. Information on the vegetation status of the surface is derived from analysis of a number of biophysical interacting parameters; vegetation indices (VIs), fractional Absorbed Photosynthetically active radiation (fAPAR), Leaf Area Index (LAI), canopy water stress, Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and primary production. The last section of the seminar will give an introduction to vegetation monitoring from the geostationary MSG satellite. Current methods for monitoring agriculture and rangeland conditions are based on polar-orbiting satellite data. The frequency of MSG data (every 15 minutes) however provides and excellent opportunity for systematic monitoring compared to daily-one-time snapshots from existing systems with possibilities of reducing problems related to cloud cover. Preliminary results of diurnal MSG NDVI and comparison against MODIS data is presented.