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Summary of Proposal RES0341

TitleGlobal Agricultural Monitoring systems by integration of earth observation and modelling techniques
Investigator Bériaux, Emilie - Université Catholique de Louvain, Research Laboratory in Environmetrics and Geomatics
Team Member
Prof. Defourny, Pierre - Université Catholique de Louvain, Environmental Sciences and Land Use Planning
SummaryThe overall objective of the project is to fill the methodological gap between the current state of the art of local crop monitoring and the operational requirement of the global monitoring system. The research will develop an integrated approach to combine satellite remote sensing with crop growth modelling by quantitative and physically-based methods. This approach is conceptually different from any other current operational system. The main research outcomes are methods to estimate crop type area from optical and SAR high resolution data over large areas and to better monitor the crop development thanks to a quantitative coupling of EO-derived variables, and different crop growth models calibrated to regional conditions. Thanks to the complementarities between the various components and to the recalibration/assimilation techniques involved, this approach should be more efficient than the existing ones, more general and, more robust with regards to exceptional crop growing conditions. The information robustness will be specifically addressed through the design of production indicators which will become more and more crucial in a context of increasing inter-annual variability of meteorological conditions and of rapid change in emerging countries. The five overarching ideas of this research are (i) to focus mainly on cereals during the fast growing period of the crop cycle when current EO provides the greatest values, (ii) to deal with wide-scale area issues, i.e. three 300 x 300 km core sites located in 3 different agro-ecological environments, (iii) to be as much as much possible sensor independent making use of the best EO effectively available, (iv) to assess the performances of each step in the various contexts to better understand the error sources and, (v) to look for more robust crop production indicators in addition to absolute crop production estimates. Besides this innovative research strategy, the most original outputs of this research are: (i) the high resolution compositing algorithm, (ii) the coupling of crop growth model and EO-derived information over large area through recalibration process and Ensemble Kalman filter, (iii) the MSG Land Surface Temperature and Evapotranspiration products integration in crop modelling, (iv) the wide-scale validation campaign strategy and, (v) the crop production indicators. The challenge of this research project is to complete one of the very first globally distributed experiments in agricultural monitoring. Such a challenge is only feasible thanks to previous and on-going large projects in the field. The project will be financed by the Belgian Science Policy.

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