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Summary of Proposal HYD1974

TitleInvestigations of TerraSAR-X for the monitoring of the great Pacific garbage patch (GPGP)
Investigator Hajnsek, Irena - German Aerospace Center, Microwaves and Radar Institute
Team Member
Mr. Ackermann, Nicolas - ETH Zurich, Institute of Environmental Engineering
Dr. Marino, Armando - ETH Zurich, Institute of Environmental Engineering
Dr De Staerke, Danielle - CNES, service jeunesse et acteurs de l education
SummaryThe French space agency (CNES) will initiate in May 2013 the 7th continent expedition, a one month mission aiming at measuring in-situ data from the great Pacific garbage patch (GPGP). The GPGP consists of a high pressure zone located in the northern Pacific off the coasts of Hawaii which accumulates the millions of tons of plastics thrown in the oceans every year. This proposal conducted by the ETH Zürich aims to evaluate the potential of X-band radar for monitoring the GPGP. The project will involve TerraSAR-X VV ScanSAR acquisitions on high concentrated plastic areas before, during and potentially after the 7th continent expedition. The remote sensing data collected before the expedition will serve as a first evaluation of the potential of radar to detect variations which could be related to the plastic garbage. The radar acquisitions performed during the 7th continent expedition will be executed in near-real time to guarantee valuable comparisons between TerraSAR-X images and the in-situ measured data. The correlation of the plastic particles concentration and the radar backscatter intensity will be investigated. According to these investigations, further acquisitions will be envisaged after the expedition. This project will provide the first study of marine debris using radar systems. If the results are successful, these instruments will be envisaged to monitor the five important great garbage patches of the Earth. They will also provide valuable information for modelling and understanding the oceanic currents and the actual Global Warming. The analyses and in-situ data will be delivered at the end of the project. The radar data investigations will be financed by the ETH Zürich and the 7th continent expedition by the CNES and external partners.

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