More moisture in the Arctic than thought
To be able to improve existing climate models and examine the polar habitats of wild animals, knowledge of the extent of the wetlands in the Arctic region is crucial. However, even in the 21st century, this is more complicated than one would expect. The inhospitableness and sheer size of the land mass makes the use of special methods essential. A particularly high-resolution method has now been developed by a team working on a project sponsored by the Austrian Science Fund FWF and has been published in the "International Journal of Remote Sensing".
At the core of this new method is the influence of vegetation and the surface structure on the so-called backscattering of a special radar signal emitted by satellites. Project manager Annett Bartsch from the Austrian Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG) elaborates: "Our studies showed that, in winter, the backscattering of this signal is particularly low in areas with vegetation that is typical for wetlands. The resolution of the signal even allows us to differentiate between different degrees of moisture, something that was almost impossible before now."
The radar used for these measurements is called Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and permits two-dimensional scene mapping. "For our analysis, we used data collected by the Envisat satellite of the European Space Agency between the years 2002 and 2012", says Bartsch, explaining the basis of the work carried out by her team. "The spatial resolution of this data is between 120 and 1,000 metres – significantly higher than the resolution of previously available data for measuring Arctic wetlands."
Winter & summer
By drawing comparisons with known regional land-use maps, Bartsch and her team discovered that there was a relationship between the particularly low backscattering of the signal in winter and wetland-typical vegetation. The team not only identified and localised the lowest backscattering values of the winter months, but also compared the winter and summer values. "This actually revealed that where a particularly large difference was found between these values, the soil moisture was also very high. This is an effect caused directly by the moisture and not by the vegetation", says Bartsch. However, although this difference appeared to be a more suitable method for identifying wetlands, measuring the minimal values of the winter months subsequently proved to be the better choice.
Research with class
"Another analysis showed that the minimal values from the winter months can be better correlated with various degrees of soil moisture than the winter-summer difference", explains Barbara Widhalm, a staff member working on the project. "This allows us to differentiate between up to three classes of moisture." This sounds very promising, but in its publication the team also mentions that there is currently no large-scale data that would enable independent validation of the results. What does exist, however, are references to soil moisture in numerous land-use maps that could be used as a reference for confirming the validity of the SAR measurements. "When we analyse the measurements of the entire Arctic polar region on this basis", says Wildhalm, summarising the results of this work, "then we discover that up to 30 percent of the country north of the treeline should be classified as wetlands. Up until now, we had estimated this to be at between one and seven percent." The new method developed with FWF support therefore appears to be more sensitive than previous methods and could potentially have a major influence on future climate models and habitat studies.
FWF Austrian Science Fund
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria's central funding organization for basic research.
The purpose of the FWF is to support the ongoing development of Austrian science and basic research at a high international level. In this way, the FWF makes a significant contribution to cultural development, to the advancement of our knowledge-based society, and thus to the creation of value and wealth in Austria.
Dr. Annett Bartsch
ZAMG – Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik
Hohe Warte 38
1190 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 360 26 - 2290
Austrian Science Fund FWF:
Haus der Forschung
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 67 40 - 8111
Copy Editing & Distribution:
PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Education
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44
This release was published on openPR.
Permanent link to this press release:
Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.
You can edit or delete your press release More moisture in the Arctic than thought here
News-ID: 349681 • Views: 1030
More Releases from FWF - Austrian Science Fund
While fear and aggression tend to curb our appetite, sadness and frustration seem to stimulate it. A project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF looks into the connections between mood and overeating in healthy and bulimic individuals. We know how it feels to look forward to our favourite dish; we are familiar with the notions of comfort food and feeling butterflies in the stomach instead of hunger. In eating
Neurosciences: a stress test for men and women
Whilst it is true that women and men respond differently to stress, current neuroscientific research only partially confirms traditional gender stereotypes. Other factors heavily contribute to the stress response such as self-esteem, hormones and stress regulation, as has been demonstrated by a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. How people react to stress is subjective. Gender also plays a fundamental role. Scientific studies have shown that the stress
Researching the grammar of sign language
Like spoken language, sign language has a complex and differentiated structure. One just has to be able to discern and interpret it. With the support of the Austrian Science Fund FWF, a research team from Klagenfurt is working on the elements of a grammar of sign language. It is language that distinguishes Homo sapiens from animals. A complex system in which smaller units combine into larger units, into sentences, into statements.
Using mathematics to hunt for computer errors
Improving the security of computer software and hardware requires mathematical analytic methods. Thanks to research by a team of computer scientists led by Krishnendu Chatterjee in a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, these methods will work significantly faster in the future. Security gap in application discovered, update urgently recommended. Alerts like that can confront us every week. Often, a comprehensive update that addresses teething troubles is already
More Releases for Austria
Austria Agriculture Market | Austria Agriculture Industry | Austria Agriculture …
The share of Austria agriculture within the Austrian economy declined steady afterward World War II, agriculture continues to represent a very important part of the economy attributable to its social and political significance. The Chamber of Agriculture rests on an equal level with the chambers of commerce and labour, though its members manufactures solely a fraction of the GDP that industrial and sale able labours produce. Though little, the agricultural sector is
Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband 2018-2023 Austria Market Survey Industry Key Play …
WiseGuyReports.com "Austria - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses" report has been added to its Research Database. Scope of the Report: Austria's telcos looking forward to major spectrum auctions for 5G. Austria's telecom market is dominated by the incumbent Telekom Austria and the cableco UPC Austria, though there has been greater competitive pressure in the fixed-line broadband and mobile sectors in recent years. In common with operators elsewhere in Europe,
Austria Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband Market Professional Survey with Industry …
WiseGuyReports.com “Austria - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses” report has been added to its Research Database. Scope of the Report: Austria’s telcos looking forward to major spectrum auctions for 5G. Austria’s telecom market is dominated by the incumbent Telekom Austria and the cableco UPC Austria, though there has been greater competitive pressure in the fixed-line broadband and mobile sectors in recent years. In common with operators elsewhere in Europe,
Agrochemicals Market in Austria
ReportsWorldwide has announced the addition of a new report title Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021) to its growing collection of premium market research reports. The report “Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021)” provides market intelligence on the different market segments, based on type, active ingredient, formulation, crop, and pest. Market size and forecast (2016-2021) has been provided in terms of both, value (000 USD) and volume (000 KG) in the report. A
Nazi psychology in Austria
The history of academic psychology after the "Anschluss", the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938, and its role as a discipline used in National Socialist policies is being examined systematically for the first time in a research project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. "It is a sad fact”, says psychologist Gerhard Benetka from the Sigmund Freud University Vienna "that applied psychology flourished during the National Socialist era
Creative Austria meets creative Russia
Euroforum: communicatin ready for the next lap Vienna. On 22nd of October 2009 the advertising association Vienna invites again to the annual Euroforum: communication event, platform for European communication, guaranteeing an interesting mix of “connecting businesses and communications”. The Event takes place in Studio 44, Vienna. Focus point Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sotschi) The main goal of the Euroforum is to promote and establish business relations and synergies between