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February 21st, 2013
Seeing the Sudd from Space

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The Sudd wetland of South Sudan is one of the largest tropical wetlands in the world. However, despite covering an area twice the size of Spain in the wet season, very little is known about the number of people it supports or the current state of its biodiversity. “The wetland as a whole and its dynamics have not been mapped repetitively or systematically,” explains Lisa-Maria Rebelo, a researcher in remote sensing at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and a member of the international science team set up to support the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (Jaxa) Kyoto and Carbon (K&C) Initiative. In part this is due to the fact that satellite images relying in visual data cannot easily see beneath vegetation or clouds to get an accurate picture of where the water is. Through the K&C initiative, however, Rebelo is working to create the most up-to-date map of the Sudd using radar remote sensing data supplied by JAXA. The long-wave band radar data acquired by the PALSAR instrument between 2006-2011 has the benefit of allowing scientists to see what’s happening beneath the vegetation canopy. Read More

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