Week 6: Following Rivers Through Time
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Eyes on Dr. Zhong Lu
Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR). For most of his career, Dr. Lu has applied this technique to the study of volcano deformation mapping. However, after learning that a hydrology expert had demonstrated that radar waves could bounce off water beneath the thick canopy of the Amazon, Dr. Lu wondered if he could also use the technique to make a map of how land was sinking in and around New Orleans.
Using vegetation maps and RADARSAT-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data distributed by the NASA Alaska Satellite Facility Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC), Dr. Lu and his colleage Oh-Ig Kwoun generated InSAR images of Southeastern Louisiana wetland vegetation with unprecedented vertical accuracy. Dr. Lu's use of satellite technology to detect and monitor water-level changes in wetlands allows scientists to make measurements over wider areas and at more frequent time intervals. These measurements are crucial for flood hazard modeling, wetland ecology and management, and to create long-term records that will help us understand how swamp forests can regenerate under changing conditions. More importantly for Louisiana, these measurements can help experts identify ways to counteract land subsidence and wetland loss.
- NASA study on Louisiana subsidence: Sensing the Swamp Beneath the Trees
- NASA Alaska Satellite Facility Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC)