Monitoring Climate and Landscape Change in the Desert Southwest
Extent and direction of migrating sand dunes on Navajo Nation lands on the Colorado Plateau from satellite image analysis. Migrating dunes threaten health, housing, and transportation pathways.
The objective of this project will be to research, design, and develop procedures that use very high-resolution multi-temporal satellite and airborne imaging, along with new ground based instrumentation, to help monitor federal and tribal lands in the ecologically and climatologically sensitive Four Corners Region of the American Southwest. The study sites will be federal and Native American lands on the Colorado Plateau (Navajo Reservation, and surrounding BLM, NFS, NPS land.) The main objective is to integrate across remote sensing spatial and temporal scales methodologies for monitoring the landscape in areas that are particularly sensitive to change, and thus change very rapidly. The project will include investigating the use of field-based automatic digital camera stations to perform climatological, phenological and morphological landscape monitoring, as well as using a Terrestrial Lidar Instrument to monitor morphological and phenological change of critical landscape study sites and eventually model the nature of these changes. Additionally, high-resolution satellite imagery and our own high-resolution digital airborne imaging system will be utilized to provide successively coarser spatial and temporal resolution datasets, which can extrapolate our ground-based models to larger spatial covers. These data sets will then be explored for ways to provide a sound monitoring set of protocols that can capture and identify change on the landscape.