Science Service System

Summary of Proposal MTH2197

TitleDisaster Assessment and Environmental Conservation: Biomass Estimate for Bushfire Affected Urban Area
Investigator Zhou, Zheng-Shu - CSIRO, CCI
Team Members
Dr Caccetta, Peter - CSIRO, Computational Informatics
Dr Wu, Xiaoliang - CSIRO, Computational Informatics
SummaryBushfires in Australia are frequentevents during the hotter months of the year, due to Australia's mostly hot, dryclimate. Each year, such fires impact extensive areas. They happen every summerand can start suddenly and without warning. On one hand, they can causeproperty damage and loss of human life. On the other hand, certain native florain Australia have evolved to rely on bushfires as a means of reproduction, andfire events are an interwoven and an essential part of the ecology of thecontinent. However bushfires are generally considered as disasters, especiallyfor civilian regions or residential areas. Typically Western Australia’s (WA)bushfire season in the south west starts in November and continues through toApril. While in the Kimberley the season runs from June through to lateOctober. As climate and seasonal conditions change, bushfires in WA arebecoming more common and the risks are increasing. Remote sensing can play an importantrole for disaster relief, e.g., bushfire warning and predication, and alsodisaster assessment and environmental recovery. The Urban Monitor project is conductedbetween CSIRO and state government agencies. It employs the high precisionphotogrammetric sensors to capture high resolution aerial images at 0.2m GroundSample Distance (GSD) for the great Perth region (about 9600 sqkm) annually. Withhigh resolution imagery, now there is the potential to apply the imagery to arange of applications such as detecting drought stress, green space in urbanenvironments, water logging, tree disease and nutrient deficiency invegetation, and to provide high-resolution capacities for other wide-scaleapplications. With the release of the TarraSAR-X staringspotlight mode acquisitions, for the first time up to 0.24m very highresolution X-band imagery from a spaceborne system become available. Hence basedon the Urban Monitor project, we propose to employ the very high resolution TSXstaring spotlight mode data for biomass assessment over a bushfire burn urbanarea and a park. The use of SAR data enables to observe the area of interestindependently from weather and environmental conditions. Recently highresolution radar imagery has rarely been employed for these socio-economicpurposes so far. The fact is mainly due to a lack of spaceborne radar systemsthat feature a ground resolution which provides promising opportunities tomonitor urban features. TSX is the first space mission that overcomes this limit.High quality data enable the derivation of meaningful Digital Surface Models(DSM) and texture information which will significantly increase the robustnessof automated classification. Moreover the availability of polarimetric datawill improve the discrimination accuracy of different land use types in urbanenvironments.The proposed project aims at the evaluation of theapplication of very high resolution TSX staring spotlight data comparing to 0.2mresolution multi-spectral imagery for precise biomass assessment after abushfire disaster in a urban area. The project will allow monitoring ofenvironmental indicators and improved understanding of condition and trends inurban assets and land uses at an unprecedented scale and accuracy.

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