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Ecological Remote Sensing at OTTER: Satellite Macroscale Observations

Goward, Samuel N., Waring, Richard H., Dye, Dennis G., Yang, Jingli
Ecological applications 1994 v.4 no.2 pp. 322-343
air temperature, drought, ecosystems, environmental factors, humidity, models, monitoring, photosynthetically active radiation, primary productivity, remote sensing, satellites, vapor pressure, Oregon
Coarse, global—scale, satellite remotely sensed observations are compared with ground measurements collected during the OTTER study. The objective was derivation of ecological and environmental variables from the satellite data needed to define primary production in western Oregon. Observations from the TOMS sensor and the AVHRR sensor provide estimates of incident PAR radiation, intercepted PAR, atmospheric humidity, air temperature, vapor pressure deficit, and drought. The satellite observations compared favorably with the coincident ground measurements, but the strength of the relation was modest in some cases. Atmospheric attenuation of the remotely sensed measurements and ground measurement quality both limit stronger relations. This study demonstrates that satellite remote sensing is capable of providing information needed for macroscale ecological monitoring. Currently, it appears possible, from AVHRR and TOMS observations, to derive periodic approximations of ecological conditions sufficient to drive a simple—production—efficiency—type model. More refined remote—sensing methods will be needed to provide the type of measurement precision required by more refined ecosystem models.