Related Research Areas
Earth Surface & Interior

Coastal regions around the world are currently home to over half of the planet's population. The population living within 60 km of the coast is likely to increase by 35% over the time period 1995-2025. While there are many benefits to having cities near the coasts (e.g., ease of transportation, access to fishing, abundant level land, moderated climate, etc.), there are also real concerns about the impact of coastal subsidence, global sea level rise, and increasing storm variability on these population centers. At the same time, we are currently at the beginning of an era where NASA and other international space agencies are planning on launching a wide range of satellites with many new observational tools. This new stream of data will provide valuable tools facilitating the monitoring of natural and anthropogenic effects on coastal populations, as well as in determining the success or failure of mitigation efforts. The central objective of this proposal is to develop a framework for ingesting large volumes of disparate data sources into analysis of ground subsidence. This proposal will primarily focus on the use of Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), which has a strong record in monitoring both uplift and subsidence around regions where water, hydrocarbons, or other subsurface fluids are extracted or injected. We will improve on existing algorithms for extracting time series from set of SAR acquisitions through the use of ancillary data sets from other satellite platforms. This combined data approach will allow us to reduce errors introduced by vegetation or terrain changes, properties of the atmosphere and satellite orbital errors. Reducing and understanding the effects of these errors on our models is key to any efforts to calibrate estimates of coastal subsidence, either those derived from remote sensing observations or from individual ground stations. A large part of this effort will involve preparing the processing stream for the large volumes of data that will come in as the set of missions recommended by the NRC decadal survey for Earth Science are launched. However, it is equally important to ensure that we recruit the next generation of top scientists who will be examining this data as progress through their academic years and beyond. Therefore, we also propose the creation of a new course at Cornell that is aimed at undergraduates with interests in a wide variety of the sciences. The goal of this course will be to introduce them to the general fields of research that are being addressed by the upcoming suite of satellite missions, as well as acquainting them with the types of measurements that will be acquired and methods for accessing and interpreting them. By the end of the course, they should also have an idea of the type of observations that they would like to see made in the future, to address the questions that most interest them personally. This proposal addresses the general NASA goals of assessing, mitigating and forecasting natural hazards that affect society, and those for improving the verification and calibration of algorithms that model remote sensing data. It specifically addresses the goals within Earth Surfaces and Interiors that include understanding the ways that Earth's surface is being transformed by natural and human-induced processes, as well as how our understanding of this surface change can feed into efforts to predict and mitigate these hazards. The particular hazard we will focus on is that of the relationship between subsidence and global sea level variability, but the methods that we develop will be applicable to other problems involving surface change.

Project PI: Rowena Lohman/Cornell

4130 Snee Hall Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853-1504



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Started: Sep 29, 2010

Last Activity: Mar 16, 2011


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