Landsat in Action - Changing Forest Phenology with Andrew Elmore

Video Transcript
Download Video
Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

When parking lots go up, when rooftops multiply, land cover and land uses change. Professor Andrew Elmore with the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science understands that very well, and explains how he uses Landsat to study and quantify that change in USGS EROS’ latest “Landsat in Action” video conversation. Elmore delves into the changing phenology of forests and how that impacts the amount of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere as well. 


Date Taken:

Length: 00:02:35

Location Taken: Sioux Falls, SD, US

Video Credits

Producer: Steve Young


The most unique thing
about Landsat is its

length of the record, for
sure. the ability to go back

something that you

just can't do with any
other sensor.

My work, I think of it
as a way to map resources

generally. Because we can't
conserve something unless

we know where it is.
And one of those resources

is stream ecosystems.
So we can use map resources

to figure out where streams
are, but to understand the

impact of development on
streams we need a separate

record. And for that we
use Landsat.

So the Landsat record
affords us the opportunity

to look at changes in the
impervious surface area,

those aare the roofs of
buildings, the parking lots,

the roads, and how those
have changed over time.

And how those changes
near streams are different

than changes that are
distant from streams.

And that can have an
impact on what the

effect of impervious
is on the streams.

So we've developed
methods that allow us

to measure the timing
of spring from Landsat

data. What it allows us to
do is see how forests have

responded to warmer
weather in spring or

cooler weather in other
years. And so we can

see at a very fine level
of detail the phenology

of that forest. And we
compare that to tree

ring records. Tree rings
afford us the possibility

to look at how nitrogen
cycling is different in

years of an early spring
or a late spring.

This allows us to say for
example that earlier

springs have lead to
reduced nitrogen availability

in forests. Which means
that over time CO2 rises

in the atmosphere and
the climate warms

we do not get that
feedback toward

trees reducing the amount
of carbon dioxide in the

atmosphere as fast as we
think it might happen

because earlier springs
are leading to reduced

productivity in those

Well, I think people are
naturally drawn to maps

And to be able to look
at the landscape at such

fine temporal and spatial
resolution and then over

such a long period
affords up the possibility

of teaching about changes
that have happened on the

landscape. the changes taht
we see are related to

effects of things we do
on the landscape like

urbanization for example,
and climate change.

So those are ways of
teaching about those

phenomena. And hopefully
the more educated the

society will make decisions
that will either slow those

changes or make them less
impactful on our

quality of life.