Research Highlights: June 2019

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Utilizing Spectral Imagery to Examine High Latitude Ecosystem Function and Diversity

K. F. Huemmrich1, P. K. E. Campbell1, S. A. Vargas Z.2, C. E. Tweedie2, E.M. Middleton3

(1: UMBC/Biospheric Sciences Lab NASA GSFC, 2: UTEP, 3: Biospheric Sciences Lab NASA GSFC)

Figure 1
Hyperspectral imagery addresses questions of terrestrial ecosystem diversity, biochemistry, and function in critical Arctic tundra regions.
  • Plant type distribution affects animal species distributions, (e.g., caribou), and ecosystem responses to climate change and thawing permafrost.
  • Biochemistry responds to environmental conditions, such as soil nutrients and water availability.
  • Ecosystem function reveals the spatial patterns for productivity over an area often considered a single vegetation type in models.

Name: K. Fred Huemmrich, UMBC/Biospheric Sciences Lab GSFC 618
Phone: 301-614-6663


Data Sources:

Technical Description of Figures:

Scientific significance, societal relevance, and relationships to future missions:

High latitude ecosystems are experiencing rapid climate change that have unknown effects on ecosystems. These regions are vast and difficult to access, limiting our ability to make direct measurements, and pointing to the value of remotely sensed data to study these critical ecosystems. Among the data collected in the 2017 flight campaign of NASA’s ABoVE was a unique set of AVIRIS-NG spectral imagery of high latitude ecosystems. This AVIRIS-NG collection is providing the opportunity to examine the information content of the numerous spectral bands in imaging spectrometer data that enhance the study of an array of tundra ecosystem characteristics. Descriptions of a variety of ecosystem characteristics derived from reflectance spectra imagery include surface hydrology, plant functional type diversity, vegetation biochemistry, and ecosystem productivity demonstrating types of data products and analysis approaches that will be possible from upcoming imaging spectrometer satellite missions, such as the Surface Biology and Geology (SBG) and the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) missions.