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Summary of Proposal LAN2794

TitleNiger Delta Environmental Monitoring
Investigator Gessner, Ursula - DLR, Land Surface
Team Member
Mr. Knauer, Kim - University of Wuerzburg and DLR-DFD, Institute of Geography
SummaryThe Niger Delta covers a land and water area of around 70,000 km˛. Within this densely populated ecosystem a large number of oil fields and an extensive network of pipelines and other oil production infrastructure results in oil leaks which contaminate the environment, cause economic losses, and seriously affect the population. Dense vegetation, local safety, as well as related costs limit ground- and air-borne surveys. Land access to the region is difficult for various reasons. However, the rapid identification of oil leaks and the quantification of effects of the oil industry on the environment is the key to rapid response. The planned research on the Niger Delta will assess the potential of different satellite-based remote sensing systems for the monitoring of environmental threats in the delta region. Optical, multispectral, and radar satellite data will for example be used to assess the degree of mangrove and other plant cover degradation. In thermal remote sensing data gas flares will be detected and changes in number and flaring intensity will be derived. Based on TerraSAR-X data in combination with VHR optical data, methods will be developed, assessed, and tested for the detection of oil contaminations in the complex delta system. The high resolution assessments of oil contamination of natural resources which will also rely on TerraSAR-X data will focus on approximately 6 focus areas in the Niger Delta. The location of the focus areas is still to be exactly defined. The applied scientific focus will be on the exploitation of earth observation data to deliver relevant spatial information of oil industry related impacts on the environment and humans in the Niger Delta. These scientific work includes land cover/use and vegetation (mangrove) change mapping based on high resolution remote sensing data, the creation of water body masks and - where possible - inundation frequency maps based on Landsat and TerraSAR-X data, the identification of gas flares and gas flare changes based on thermal (Landsat) data, and the monitoring of annual coastline changes based on Landsat data. These investigations are planned to focus on historic data as well as on current changes until 2017. The spatial information products will be created at a resolution ranging from 30, to up to 1m. Sensor data that is planned to be used for these tasks includes Ikonos, RapidEye, WorldView, Spot, Landsat, TerraSAR-X.

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