CEOS Land Product Validation Biomass Focus Area

We are entering an exciting period for remote sensing of vegetation, with several upcoming active RS missions (e.g. GEDI, ICESat-2, NISAR, BIOMASS) launching over the next few years. In the CEOS Strategy for Carbon Observations from Space, biomass was identified as a core GEO observational element for quantification of carbon pools and their response to changes in environmental factors. CEOS member agencies will provide novel carbon-related data and products for science and policy.  In this context, the CEOS-Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV) assigned its LPV subgroup to establish a new focus area dedicated to the assessment of global above ground biomass products. This group will interact with other CEOS Working Groups, Ad Hoc Teams, and Virtual Constellations, and will be co-led by John Armston, Mat Disney, and myself.

The mission of the CEOS LPV is to coordinate the quantitative validation of satellite-derived data products, including standardized inter-comparison and validation across different satellites, algorithms, and agency sources. A range of groups and institutions are engaged in research with the aim of producing global scale biomass maps using data from the aforementioned missions. However, we anticipate that comparing the forthcoming global biomass products will be challenging, as each may use different reference datasets with differing field data standards/protocols and statistical frameworks for characterizing uncertainties. This LPV focus area has the opportunity to develop community-vetted good practices for biomass product validation to enable consistent, interoperable and intercomparable accuracy assessments of these future biomass products. The CEOS-LPV framework (https://lpvs.gsfc.nasa.gov/) will guide our community towards a citable validation protocol and fiducial reference data. One of our near-term goals is to integrate each of these components into an online platform where automated subsetting of satellite-derived products and quantitative tests are run, and we can conduct standardized inter-comparison and validation.

We therefore anticipate a busy year for the CEOS biomass LPV! For this first year, our primary focus will be on developing a good practice protocol for the validation of above ground biomass products, and submitting to the CEOS WGCV for endorsement. We intend to publish this protocol in 2018, in advance of the first round of active mission datasets from GEDI and ICESat-2. In parallel, we will be working with the science teams of the various missions and in-situ reference networks, to ensure the protocol will be fit-for-purpose; both within and across biomass datasets.

If you area interested in joining the list-serve for this focus area please visit: https://lpvs.gsfc.nasa.gov and click the ‘Subscribe Me!’ button on the left side of the page, selecting biomass as your focus area of interest.