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Detecting and mapping vegetation distribution on the Antarctic Peninsula from remote sensing data

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sophie Fielding.

Open to non-BAS; please contact Sophie Fielding (sof(at)bas.ac.uk) if you would like to attend.

Vegetation on the Antarctic Peninsula is sparse, localized and consists mainly of the lower orders of vegetation, factors that have hindered previous Remote Sensing (RS) studies. However, the size of the region, and its remote and rugged nature means that RS methods are the only practical way to map distribution, this has resulted in a lack of mapping and overall quantitative analysis of vegetation in the area. The region is important, as it has shown rapid signs of warming in the last few decades (~3.7°C since the 1950’s), and predictions indicate accelerated future warming. A baseline survey of the amount and distribution of vegetation is required to monitor future change. We present a spectral reflectance methodology based on NDVI that can identify areas of both lichens and mosses from Lansat ETM data. The NDVI analysis is checked against vegetation surveys in Ryder Bay on the AP. The results have been corrected for several factors influencing low NDVI readings and analysis in this environment. This methodology, together with data acquired in compiling the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica, has been applied to 13 Landsat scenes covering Graham Land in the Northern part of the AP to examine the distribution of vegetation in the area. Initial results point to the need for better understanding of Landsat scene correlation and geological anomalies at low NDVI readings.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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