This is an article from the Summer 2015 VPS. For more VPS articles, click here
Project Team: North Carolina Ecological Forecasting
Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center – Hampton, Virginia
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA DEVELOP National Program)
Michael Bender (NASA DEVELOP National Program)
Emily Adams (NASA DEVELOP Langley Center Lead)
As a result of their sensitivity to sea level rise, wetlands are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change. In addition, wetland extents have diminished over time due to population increases and associated land change patterns. For this project, the team partnered with the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) and sought to delineate wetland extent within the Albemarle-Pamlico watershed from 2000 to 2015 using NASA’s Landsat 5 Thematic mapper (TM), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI). Four images (representing spring, summer, fall, and winter) were collected for each year from 2000 to 2015. Multiple images were used for each year to account for tidal changes and to minimize the noise produced by clouds.åÊ After pre-processing the images, indices that measure water extent and wetland health were calculated for each image. A Normalized Difference Water Index was used to delineate shoreline. A wetland health index that ratios the near infrared and short wave infrared bands, and a Normalized Difference Pigment Index were used to assess wetland health. From these indices, wetland extent and relative health were measured more rapidly than contemporary classification methods. A tutorial was provided to APNEP to support the organization in implementing policies toward wetland monitoring, protection, and restoration.