Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center
Authors: Nathan Makar, Kelsey Rooks, Sean Archer, Kevin Sparks, Cody Trigg, Jacob Lourie, Kyle Wilkins
Advisors/Science Mentors: Dr. Kenton Ross
Abstract: Remote sensing has been used in agriculture for decades to monitor land use, crops, and farming practices. In the wake of climate change and greenhouse gas levels increasing in the atmosphere, monitoring tilling practices has become more important. In the U.S., 8% of greenhouse gas emissions are related to agricultural processes. Conventional, or intensive, tilling is known to release carbon from the soil into the atmosphere by reducing nutrients in the soil. Conservation tilling has a more positive impact on the environment, and can sequester carbon from the atmosphere, creating a carbon sink rather than a carbon source. Farmers can successfully prepare their fields through conservation tilling, which leaves crop residue in the soil to provide nutrients, and reduce water runoff and erosion. Detecting which fields are prepared by conservation tilling practices has been tedious and costly. Using remote sensing capabilities can create an efficient process for monitoring tilling practices. This project focuses on the use of the Hyperion remote sensor for its high spectral resolution. To thoroughly investigate the practicality of using Hyperion data, imagery from Landsat, ALI, and ASTER sensors also was analyzed. The final product aims to utilize multiple Hyperion agricultural indices to formulate a new index solely for tillage practice comparisons which could benefit the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Conservation Technology Information Center and similar organizations.
Video transcript available here.