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Summary of Proposal HYD0534

TitleHYDRO-TIP - Remote Sensing for Hydro-Glaciological and Geo-Ecological Research on the Tibetan Plateau (DFG Priority Program 1372 Tibetan Plateau: Formation – Climate - Ecosystems (TiP))
Investigator Hochschild, Volker - Universitaet Tuebingen, Geographisches Institut
Team Member
Dr. Bolch, Tobias - Technische Universitaet Dresden, Institut fuer Kartographie
Prof. Dr. Buchroithner, Manfred - Technische Universitaet Dresden, Institut fuer Kartographie
Prof. Dr. Fluegel, Wolfgang-Albert - Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena, Institut fuer Geographie
Dr. Hartmann, Kai - Freie Universitaet Berlin, Institut fuer Geographische Wissenschaften
Dr. Helmschrot, Joerg - Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena, Institut fuer Geographie
Dr. Kropacek, Jan - Universitaet Tuebingen, Geographisches Institut
Prof. Dr. Lehmkuhl, Frank - RWTH Aachen, Geographisches Institut
Prof. Dr. Scherer, Dieter - Technische Universitaet Berlin, Institut fuer Oekologie
Prof. Dr. Schneider, Christoph - RWTH Aachen, Geographisches Institut
SummaryUnderstanding of exchange processes over the Tibetan Plateau including the hydrological cycle is becoming increasingly important since its influence on formation of Asian monsoon is known. There is a profound thermal and dynamical influence on the atmospheric circulation, involving a strong interaction between the land and the atmosphere over the Tibetan Plateau (Bollasina & Benedict 2004). Recent lake level variation and retreat of mountain glaciers has to be studied with respect to global change. An accurate and up-to date information of the characteristics and the current and future trends of these changes, provided by modern satellite systems like TerraSAR-X are therefore needed. The main objective is the evaluation of the potential of TerraSAR-X data to derive meaningful information on parameters of the water cycle. TerraSAR-X data will be used in combination with medium and high resolution optical data (Landsat, ASTER, Kompsat-2, QuickBird, etc.) by applying data fusion techniques, comprising object oriented detection and classification of TerraSAR-X data with the major advantages of the high spatial resolution, the fast repetition cycle and the full-polarimetric capabilities. The methodological approach of the HYDRO-TIP-project is threefold: (1) With its fast repetition cycle of 11 days TerraSAR-X data will enable multitemporal change detection applications to observe the transition periods in autumn (snow accumulation) and spring (snow melt) with a higher time resolution as ERS and ENVISAT (35 days). This multitemporal quantification of the area-wide extent and height variations of hydrological parameters is of tremendous importance for the estimation of water balance and geo-ecological dynamics. (2) The signal intensity and the polarimetric information content are key issues in the detection of soil moisture over permafrost, wetlands water balance, as well as snow and firn in the accumulation area of the glaciers, since optical data is unsuitable over there due to missing surface texture. Nevertheless data fusion techniques will be applied to combine TerraSAR-X data with other remote sensing data. Simultaneous to the satellite acquisitions extensive ground measurements of surface roughness, soil moisture, snow depth, etc. will be carried out close to the lakes. (3) Apart from these multisensoral evaluations also new object oriented classification approaches should be developed for applications in hydrology as well as a comparison of the different spatial acquisition modes of TerraSAR-X, to determine the highest potential for future hydrological applications. Since the DFG priority program is proposed for a duration of six years, the two intended test sites are subject of the first project phase (two years 2009 and 2010). An extension to further test sites is planned for the second and third project phase of the priority programme. The data requirements therefore focus on time frequent acquisitions throughout the spring/summer (March 2009 – September 2009) and autumn/winter (October 2009 – February 2010) seasons in all image modes (SC, SM, SL and SH) with different (flat, moderate, steep) incidence angles. The intended product types are .MGD and .GEC. The expected deliverables of the project are derived data layers that will be used for parameterization of integrated hydrological basin modelling. This includes time series on snow melt – onset, distribution and duration, extent of mountain glaciers, maps of distribution and annual change of wetlands in the basin, spatial and temporal distribution of soil moisture as well as an information on the icing cycle of the Nam Co. Funding is provided from the German Research Association (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) through the priority program 1372 “Tibetan Plateau: Formation, Climate, Ecosystems (TiP)” within the 3 subprojects of Hochschild, Fluegel (Hydrology), Scherer, Schneider and Buchroithner (Glaciology), and Lehmkuhl, Hartmann (Geomorphology).

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