The figure shows locations of sites with SAR images and Table 1 lists the site, and its physical attributes.

Terrestrial Ecology – Data Description

Dataset Description:

  • SAR — synthetic aperture radar
  • 2007-2010
  • 42 sites in North and South America, and Greenland
  • Monitoring networks include FLUXNET, Ameriflux, LTER, and the Greenland Climate Network (GC-Net)
  • GeoTIFF format in Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) projection and 15-meter resolution

Data File Information

Each scene is available in GeoTIFF format with a XML file containing metadata. A PDF document file is also available for each site and contains image-specific metadata, image analysts notes about channel assignments and colors, and a thumbnail of the SAR image. For sites with multiple images, only one thumbnail is included as images are quite similar in appearance.

Example PDF File:

Site Name: Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES1)
GeoTIFF: Baltimore_Ecosystem_Study_20090728.tif
Imagery Date: 28-Jul-2009, 03:32:51
Location: Maryland
The SAR image has greens, pinks, blacks and some gray colors. By assigning the HH to the red and blue channels
and the HV polarization to the green, we get these slightly more intuitive colors. Green is tree canopy. Black is water.
Polarization: FBD 34.3 HH+HV
Bands: HH (red and blue)
Bands: HV (green)

Spatial Coverage

The figure shows locations of sites with SAR images and Table 1 lists the site, and its physical attributes.

Sites: The figure shows locations of sites with SAR images and the following table lists the site, and its physical attributes.

Site Name Site Number Land Unit Latitude Longitude Site Type Vegetation type - IGBP Class
Arctic LTER (ARC1) 789 North America 68.62833 -149.593331 LTER Site Open shrublands
Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES1) 945 North America 39.400281 -76.7702806 LTER Site Urban and built-up
Bartlett Experimental Forest 823 North America 44.06464 -71.2880769 Flux Tower Deciduous broad-leaf forest
BOREAS NSA — Old Black Spruce 234 North America 55.87962 -98.48081 Flux Tower Evergreen needle-leaf forest
BOREAS SSA — Young Aspen 285 North America 53.65601 -105.32314 Flux Tower Mixed forest
British Columbia — Campbell River — Clearcut Site 121 North America 49.87048 -125.29087 Flux Tower Evergreen needle-leaf forest
British Columbia — Campbell River — Mature Forest Site 120 North America 49.86725 -125.3336 Flux Tower Evergreen needle-leaf forest
Buffalo13 ESE — SDSU Antelope Research Station (Calving Pasture Site) 1060 North America 45.516 -103.3017 Climate reference network station Grasslands
Cascades/H.J. Andrews LTER — Oregon 809 North America 44.24885 -122.180347 Evergreen needle-leaf forest
Chamela Biological Station 644 North America 19.509281 -105.040175 Flux Tower Deciduous broad-leaf forest
CP1 2723 Europe 69.8819 -46.9736 GC-Net
Duke Forest Hardwoods 868 North America 35.973582 -79.1004304 Flux Tower Mixed forest
Harvard Forest EMS Tower (HFR1) 886 North America 42.537756 -72.1714778 Flux Tower Mixed forest
HJ Andrews Aeronet Sunphotometer (AND1) 1033 North America 44.238889 -122.223889 LTER Site Evergreen needle-leaf forest
Howland Forest (Main Tower) 890 North America 45.20407 -68.7402778 Flux Tower Mixed forest
Humboldt Gl. 2731 Europe 78.5266 -56.8305 GC-Net
Juniper Woodland Site 1050 North America 40.259322 -112.478125 Flux Tower Grassland
KULU 2738 Europe 65.7584 -39.6018 GC-Net
Lost Creek 931 North America 46.08268 -89.97919 Flux Tower Deciduous broad-leaf forest
Luquillo LTER (LUQ1) 681 North America 18.323889 -65.8175 LTER Site Evergreen broad-leaf forest
Metolius Eyerly Burn 954 North America 44.579442 -121.500076 Flux Tower Evergreen needle-leaf forest
Metolius Intermediate Pine 955 North America 44.452432 -121.557166 Flux Tower Evergreen needle-leaf forest
Missouri Ozark Site 967 North America 38.74411 -92.200009 Flux Tower Deciduous broad-leaf forest
NASA-E 2727 Europe 75 -29.9997 GC-Net
NGRIP 2729 Europe 75.0998 -42.3326 GC-Net
Niwot Ridge (LTER NWT1) 997 North America 40.032878 -105.546403 Flux Tower Evergreen needle-leaf forest
Park Falls 1036 North America 45.945878 -90.2723042 Flux Tower Deciduous broad-leaf forest
Phillips Creek Marsh (PHCK) 1091 North America 37.46069 -75.8347115 LTER Site Woody Savannas
Rond. — Faz. Nossa Senhora-Ji Parana — Pasture 71 South America -10.76181 -62.3572222 Flux Tower Savannas
Rond. — Rebio Jaru Ji Parana — Tower B 73 South America -10.07806 -61.9330972 Flux Tower Evergreen broad-leaf forest
Santarem — Km77 Pasture 84 South America -3.011896 -54.53652 Flux Tower Cropland/natural vegetation mosaic
Sask — SSA Old Aspen 258 North America 53.62889 -106.19779 Flux Tower Mixed forest
Sask — SSA Old Jack Pine 260 North America 53.91634 -104.69203 Flux Tower Evergreen needle-leaf forest
Sioux Falls Portable 2755 North America 43.2408 -96.902 Croplands
Sky Oaks 1067 North America 33.384444 -116.640261 Flux Tower Closed shrublands
Summit 2741 Europe 72.5794 -38.5042 GC-Net
Swiss Camp 2742 Europe 69.5732 -49.5952 GC-Net
Tablelands Juniper Savanna 2712 North America 34.425489 -105.861545 Open shrublands
Tonzi Ranch 1078 North America 38.4316 -120.965983 Flux Tower Woody savannas
Valles Caldera Mixed Conifer 2715 North America 35.888447 -106.532114 Woody savannas
Walker Branch Watershed 1096 North America 35.958767 -84.2874333 Flux Tower Deciduous broad-leaf forest
Western Peatland — LaBiche-Black Spruce/Larch Fen 292 North America 54.95384 -112.46698 Flux Tower Mixed forest

Collection boundaries: (All latitude and longitude given in decimal degrees)

Westernmost Longitude Easternmost Longitude Northernmost Latitude Southernmost Latitude
-156.6650 -29.9997 78.5266 -10.7618

Temporal Coverage

SAR subsets were extracted for the dates shown in the table below. The exact time of the image is included in the documentation. The selected sites, the name of their respective compressed image files, the date(s), and projections of the SAR subset image(s) are provided.

Site Name Site Number Image Date(s) Image Projection
Arctic LTER (ARC1) 789 2010/07/11 WGS84, UTM, Zone 6N
Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES1) 945 2009/07/28 WGS84, UTM, Zone 18N
Bartlett Experimental Forest 823 2007/07/20, 2007/09/04, 2007/10/20, 2008/06/06, 2009/07/25, 2009/10/25, 2010/07/28, 2010/09/12, 2010/10/28 WGS84, UTM, Zone 19N
BOREAS NSA — Old Black Spruce 234 2010/09/24 WGS84, UTM, Zone 14N
BOREAS SSA — Young Aspen 285 2010/07/19 WGS84, UTM, Zone 13N
British Columbia — Campbell River — Clearcut Site 121 2010/06/05 WGS84, UTM, Zone 10N
British Columbia — Campbell River — Mature Forest Site 120 2010/06/05 WGS84, UTM, Zone 10N
Buffalo13 ESE — SDSU Antelope Research Station (Calving Pasture Site) 1060 2010/10/02 WGS84, UTM, Zone 13N
Cascades/H.J. Andrews LTER — Oregon 809 2008/10/25 WGS84, UTM, Zone 10N
Chamela Biological Station 644 2010/10/10 WGS84, UTM, Zone 13N
CP1 2723 2009/11/10 WGS84, UTM, Zone 23N
Duke Forest Hardwoods 868 2010/09/25 WGS84, UTM, Zone 17N
Harvard Forest EMS Tower (HFR1) 886 2007/08/23, 2010/08/31, 2010/10/16 WGS84, UTM, Zone 18N
HJ Andrews Aeronet Sunphotometer (AND1) 1033 2010/10/25 WGS84, UTM, Zone 10N
Howland Forest (Main Tower) 890 2010/10/18 WGS84, UTM, Zone 19N
Humboldt Gl. 2731 2010/06/29 WGS84, UTM, Zone 21N
Juniper Woodland Site 1050 2010/07/20 WGS84, UTM, Zone 12N
KULU 2738 2008/05/21, 2008/07/06, 2008/08/21 WGS84, UTM, Zone 24N
Lost Creek 931 2010/10/08 WGS84, UTM, Zone 15N
Luquillo LTER (LUQ1) 681 2010/10/11 WGS84, UTM, Zone 20N
Metolius Eyerly Burn 954 2010/06/29 WGS84, UTM, Zone 10N
Metolius Intermediate Pine 955 2010/06/29 WGS84, UTM, Zone 10N
Missouri Ozark Site 967 2010/08/04 WGS84, UTM, Zone 15N
NASA-E 2727 2009/12/23 WGS84, UTM, Zone 25N
NGRIP 2729 2010/06/29 WGS84, UTM, Zone 23N
Niwot Ridge (LTER NWT1) 997 2007/06/05, 2007/07/21, 2007/10/21, 2008/06/07, 2009/07/26, 2010/06/13, 2010/07/29, 2010/10/29, 2010/12/14 WGS84, UTM, Zone 13N
Park Falls 1036 2010/10/08 WGS84, UTM, Zone 15N
Phillips Creek Marsh (PHCK) 1091 2010/10/31 WGS84, UTM, Zone 18N
Rond. — Faz. Nossa Senhora-Ji Parana — Pasture 71 2010/10/21 WGS84, UTM, Zone 20S
Rond. — Rebio Jaru Ji Parana — Tower B 73 2010/07/17 WGS84, UTM, Zone 20S
Santarem — Km77 Pasture 84 2007/06/12, 2008/05/30, 2009/06/18, 2009/08/03, 2010/06/21, 2010/07/21, 2010/08/06, 2010/11/06 WGS84, UTM, Zone 21S
Sask — SSA Old Aspen 258 2010/11/05 WGS84, UTM, Zone 13N
Sask — SSA Old Jack Pine 260 2010/10/31 WGS84, UTM, Zone 13N
Sioux Falls Portable 2755 2010/03/20, 2010/06/29, 2010/07/16, 2010/08/31, 2010/10/16, 2010/12/01 WGS84, UTM, Zone 14N
Sky Oaks 1067 2009/11/18 WGS84, UTM, Zone 11N
Summit 2741 2010/01/23 WGS84, UTM, Zone 24N
Swiss Camp 2742 2010/01/05 WGS84, UTM, Zone 22N
Tablelands Juniper Savanna 2712 2010/09/18 WGS84, UTM, Zone 13N
Tonzi Ranch 1078 2010/09/17 WGS84, UTM, Zone 10N
Valles Caldera Mixed Conifer 2715 2010/10/05 WGS84, UTM, Zone 13N
Walker Branch Watershed 1096 2010/10/27 WGS84, UTM, Zone 16N
Western Peatland — LaBiche-Black Spruce/Larch Fen 292 2010/09/23 WGS84, UTM, Zone 12N
SAR images for (a) Walker Branch Watershed, Tennessee, and (b) Niwot Ridge, Colorado, sites. In SAR visualizations for land use, green usually represents tree canopy, pink is crop or barren soil, black is water, and grays are low vegetation. The star icon indicates the location of the field site.

Terrestrial Ecology

To help increase understanding of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and promote its use as a powerful tool for terrestrial ecologists, ASF offers examples of data that can be used for a variety of purposes. The data are subsets for selected field sites — such as flux tower locations — from the PALSAR (Phased Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar) sensor flown on the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS). This dataset provides SAR images for 42 selected sites from various terrestrial-ecology and meteorological-monitoring networks, including FLUXNETAmeriFluxLong Term Ecological Research (LTER), and the Greenland Climate Network (GC-Net).

SAR images for (a) Walker Branch Watershed, Tennessee, and (b) Niwot Ridge, Colorado, sites. In SAR visualizations for land use, green usually represents tree canopy, pink is crop or barren soil, black is water, and grays are low vegetation. The star icon indicates the location of the field site.

Figure 1. SAR images for (a) Walker Branch Watershed, Tennessee, and (b) Niwot Ridge, Colorado, sites. In SAR visualizations for land use, green usually represents tree canopy, pink is crop or barren soil, black is water, and grays are low vegetation. The star icon indicates the location of the field site.

Data Uses

The data can be used for a number of purposes (1) to validate the SAR measurements using flux tower site characterization data; (2) to examine the impacts of vegetation dynamics on climate; (3) to understand human impacts on vegetation at a local scale; (3) to detect deforestation and forest degradation; (4) to map and differentiate growth stages and change; (5) to retrieve woody biomass and structural attributes; and (6) to characterize, map, and monitor ecoregions such as mangroves and wetlands.

More About Data Source

The SAR images are subset scenes of approximately 60 km x 70 km that include an established site in one of the monitoring networks. The spatial resolution of all scenes is 15 meters. These scenes are distributed as GeoTIFF files, with appropriate projection information defined within the file. The acquisition mode for all data is the Fine Beam Dual Polarization or FBD with the HH/HV polarization. The HH and HV channels are distributed as 3 channels to allow for an intuitive image display. The HH band is displayed in the red and blue channels, and the HV band is displayed in the green channel. The resulting images show vegetation in shades of green and barren land in shades of pink or purple. For some images only single polarization is available; these images are distributed as grayscale images.

Support Acknowledgment

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) funded this EOSDIS Tech Infusion project as a collaboration between the ASF DAAC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center (ORNL DAAC) in 2010.

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