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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Overview of Remote Sensing of Semi-Arid Ecosystem Function in the Upper San Pedro River Basin, Arizona

item Moran, Mary
item Williams, D - UNIV OF ARIZONA
item Goodrich, David
item Chehbouni, A - ORSTOM/IMADES, MEXICO
item Cooper, D - LOS ALAMOS NATL LAB, NM
item Davis, Ronald
item Eichinger, W - UNIV OF IOWA

Submitted to: American Meteorological Society of the Conference on Hydrology Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 31, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: As water resource become scarce, the demand increases for information about regional water use. One goal of the Semi-Arid Land Surface Atmosphere (SALSA) program was to monitor water loss from plants, soils and water bodies in the Upper San Pedro River Basin to better manage scarce water resources. To achieve this goal, SALSA scientists used information acquired by imaging sensors on small aircraft and orbiting satellites - termed "remote sensing." These images were interpreted based on measurements of plant, soil and atmospheric conditions made during each overpass. The results of this work will give a better understanding of hydrologic processes in semi-arid regions and will provide an operational means of monitoring ecosystem health through remote sensing.

Technical Abstract: A coordinated effort has been made in the SALSA Program to investigate linkages between vegetation and hydrologic processes, and to determine relations between these vegetation processes and the spectral response of plants and soils. During the 1997 growing season, measurements were made of transpiration rates within the cottonwood-willow riparian forest and total evapotranspiration rates of the associated grassland and mesquite shrubland. In addition, isotope analysis was conducted to determine the source of water for transpiration, and soil moisture measurements were made to monitor the soil variations related to plant conditions. Concurrent with these in situ measurements of vegetation growth and function, remotely sensed measurements of plant and soil reflectance, temperature and radar backscatter were made at strategic times during the season. These data were used to develop remote-sensing approaches for monitoring regional vegetation productivity and evapotranspiration.

Last Modified: 4/21/2015
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