NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA, Greenbelt, United States
Monitoring how Earth is changing is one of NASA’s primary science objectives. To date, monitoring of land cover and land use change has been limited by the available observations. The MODIS sensor provides high frequency of observations, but at spatial resolutions too coarse to detect many human-induced changes on Earth’s surface. The Landsat satellites provide ideal spatial resolutions, but lack the temporal frequency necessary to monitor changes in near real-time, and even seasonally in cloudy regions of the world. The Sentinel-2 mission of GMES will collect data very similar to Landsat with an initial temporal resolution of 10 days. Following the launch of the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) and Sentinel-2 in late 2012/early 2013, we will have unprecedented opportunity for collection of satellite data at spatial resolutions sufficient for global monitoring of land cover and land use change. By combining and coordinating acquisitions between these two missions, the potential exists for as many as five observations per month, dramatically improving the potential for near real-time monitoring. Associated with this opportunity is the need to assure the science compatibility of the datasets collected by these two missions such that they can be used together as easily and effectively as possible. The Landsat Program has had the benefit of two science teams to date, one for the Landsat 7 mission, and an ongoing science team in support of the Landsat Program. A Mission Advisory Group is being developed in Europe to support Sentinel-2, and one of the primary goals of this proposal is to coordinate efforts of these two groups. As Team Leader of the Landsat Science Team, Woodcock is ideally situated to provide this coordination. As a member of the Landsat Science Team with extensive experience in the MODIS program, Vermote is the ideal person to lead coordination between Sentinel-2 and Landsat on topics such as calibration, atmospheric correction, and cloud and shadow detection. While the initial focus will be on recommendations for the processing stream of the data from the sensors currently being built, a longer-term goal of the proposed project will be to try to coordinate the design of future sensors to minimize inherent differences that will undermine or complicate their combined use. The ability to monitor land cover change in near real-time will have tremendous benefits for reducing illegal deforestation and the associated carbon emissions to the atmosphere, reducing encroachment on protected areas, and generally improve our understanding of how the surface of Earth is changing.