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Proceedings Paper

UAS-based P-band signals of opportunity for remote sensing of snow and root zone soil moisture
Author(s): Simon Yueh; Rashmi Shah; Xiaolan Xu; Kelly Elder; Steve Margulis; Glen Liston; Michael Durand; Chris Derksen; Jack Elston
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Paper Abstract

We have developed the P-band Signals of Opportunity (SoOp) sensor based on the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) to remotely sense Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) and Root Zone Soil Moisture (RZSM). The P-band UAS SoOp sensor for Hydrology (UASHydro) would operate on the S2 aircraft developed by Black Swift Technologies for sensing of SWE and RZSM with a spatial resolution of about 10m. Root-zone soil moisture and snow water storage in land are critical parameters of the water cycle. The long-term goal of our development would be to use small UAS to perform regional high resolution observation of two key hydrological measurements to improve the estimation of terrestrial water storage for water management, crop production and forecasts of natural hazard. The UASHydro concept utilizes passive receivers to detect the reflection of strong existing P-band radio signals at the 360-380 MHz band from geostationary Mobile Use Objective System (MUOS) communication satellites launched by the US Navy. The SWE remote sensing measurement principle using the P-band SoOp is based on the propagation delay (or phase change) of radio signals through the snowpack. The time delay of the reflected signal due to the snowpack with respect to snow-free conditions is directly proportional to the snowpack SWE, while the soil moisture can be retrieved from the reflectivity at the P-band frequencies for MUOS. We have been conducting ground-based campaigns to test the instrumentation and data processing methods at the Fraser Experimental Forest in Colorado since February 2016. The field campaign data has provided support to the measurement concept. To install the SoOp technologies on the UAS, a lightweight antenna has been built and interfaces with the S2 built by Black Swift Technologies have been completed. A set of flights have been planned starting April 2018 through the end of 2018 in Colorado.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 September 2018
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 10785, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XXII, 107850B (25 September 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2325819
Show Author Affiliations
Simon Yueh, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Rashmi Shah, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Xiaolan Xu, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Kelly Elder, U.S. Forest Service (United States)
Steve Margulis, Univ. of California, Los Angeles (United States)
Glen Liston, Colorado State Univ. (United States)
Michael Durand, The Ohio State Univ. (United States)
Chris Derksen, Environment and Climate Change Canada (Canada)
Jack Elston, Black Swift Technologies, LLC (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10785:
Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XXII
Steven P. Neeck; Philippe Martimort; Toshiyoshi Kimura, Editor(s)

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