Observations from field to space: a new integrated high-latitude hyperspectral laboratory for surface water and vegetation characterization in Alaska’s Arctic and boreal regions

Authors:

Jordi Cristóbal – Hyperspectral Imaging Laboratory (HyLab), Geophysical Institute (GI), University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), 903 Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA & Institute of Northern Engineering Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), 306 Tanana Loop, Fairbanks, AK 99775-5910, USA

Marcel Buchhorn – Hyperspectral Imaging Laboratory (HyLab), Geophysical Institute (GI), University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), 903 Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA & Alaska Geobotany Center (AGC), Institute of Arctic Biology (IAB), University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), 902 N. Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000, USA

Anupma Prakash – Hyperspectral Imaging Laboratory (HyLab), Geophysical Institute (GI), University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), 903 Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA

Patrick Graham – Hyperspectral Imaging Laboratory (HyLab), Geophysical Institute (GI), University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), 903 Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, AK 99775-7320, USA

Abstract: Alaska’s Arctic and boreal regions, largely dominated by tundra and boreal forest, are witnessing unprecedented changes in response to climate warming. However, the intensity of feedback between the hydrosphere and vegetation change are not yet well quantified in the Arctic regions. This lends considerable uncertainty to predictions of how much, how fast, and where the Arctic and boreal hydrology and ecology will change. Also unknown is how vegetation change will impact water resources and climate dynamics in Arctic and boreal Alaska.

With a very sparse network of observations (meteorological, flux towers, etc.) in the Alaska Arctic and boreal regions, remote sensing is the only technology capable of providing the necessary quantitative measurement for surface water and vegetation monitoring from local to global scales in a feasible economic way. Over the last decades, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) has become the research hub for high-latitude research. UAFs newly established Hyperspectral Imaging Laboratory (HyLab) currently provides field observations, acquisition, and processing of multiplatform airborne and satellite multispectral and hyperspectral remote sensing.   as well as ecological modelling to help unravel seasonal and spatio-temporal variability in surface water and energy balances and vegetation biophysical properties from local to global scales Arctic and boreal regions.

The PSR+ Spectroradiometer was one of the instruments used during this study:

• Fast, full-spectrum UV-VIS-NIR measurements (350 – 2,500 nm)
• High Resolution Field Portable Spectroradiometer with 512 element Si array and two 256 element extended InGaAs arrays
• Various optics ranging from 1° to 25° for reflectance, radiance and irradiance measurements

Field-based operation:
• The PSR+ spectroradiometer is powered by batteries and connected to a rugged tablet which provides GPS, photo tagging, and voice notes
• Our self-developed software allows in-field mineral identification and classification
• Usage of handheld contact probe allows field measurements on outcrops or mapping open pits even at cloudy conditions

Laboratory operation:
• Best signal-to-noise ratio for improved reflectance values by using full range tungsten lamps
• Detailed analysis of field samples in order to build Arctic spectral libraries from natural covers

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