Initial UAS Flights by LBNL Facilitate Planning for FY17

Sebastien Biraud provided an initial glimpse of what UAS flights could mean for integration of above- and below-ground research at field sites on the Seward Peninsula

Our regularly scheduled “Science Talk” in November featured a presentation by LBNL’s Sebastien Biraud who spoke on UAS: a tool to better characterize surface-subsurface interactions. Earlier in the summer Sebastien had visited the NGEE Arctic field sites along the Teller and Council Roads. He began his presentation by telling us that the rapid emergence of UAS technology makes for easy deployment of a range of sensor systems to address science needs. However, permitting is important and Sebastien described what was needed to ensure compliance with DOE and FFA guidelines. He then used data collected from the Teller field site to demonstrate how coincident acquisition of above- and below-ground datasets could be used to visualize bedrock, permafrost, and canopy interactions across broad spatial scales. Seismic and point-scale data will help distinguish soil, permafrost, and bedrock. Field work plans are being developed now to coordinate above- and below-ground sampling along transects at all three NGEE Arctic field sites in FY17.

Figure 2. Ortho-images collected from the UAS at the Teller Road field site shows how thermal conductivity (e.g., blue to red color gradient) varies across terrain that differs in vegetation cover, depth to bedrock, and soil moisture conditions.
Contact Person: 
Sebastien Biraud (scbiraud@lbl.go), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory