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NREL/NC CSC Special Seminar: MALIBU (Multi AngLe Imaging Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function sUAS) Field Campaign at Pawnee National Grasslands

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm

This seminar, presented by Miguel Román, discussed MALIBU (Multi AngLe Imaging Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function sUAS) and an upcoming field campaign for the system. 


NREL/NC CSC Special Seminar

Tuesday, June 28

4-5 pm

NESB, B215


Title: MALIBU (Multi AngLe Imaging Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function sUAS) Field Campaign at Pawnee National Grasslands

Presented by: Miguel Román

Terrestrial Information Systems Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center


Bio: Miguel Román leads the Land Product Validation (LPV) activities surrounding the EOS Terra/Aqua MODIS and Suomi-NPP VIIRS instruments, as well as field-based and airborne experiments using sUAS platforms. He is also the principal NASA scientist for the VIIRS Day/Night Band on Suomi-NPP. At the agency level, Román also serves on NASA's Center Disaster Working Group (CDWG) in the role of representative to the MODIS/VIIRS science teams, and as NASA/GSFC's point of contact for disaster-related information and response awareness. At the international level, Román serves as the current chair of the LPV subgroup on the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV).

Abstract: MALIBU is a pathfinder series of missions to develop a multi-angle reflectance measurement technique for land surface processes studies using small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS). The instrument package includes two multispectral imagers, oriented at two different viewing angles, to capture vegetation structure and spectral reflectance characteristics. This NASA/GSFC instrument system is packaged in a Black Swift Technologies LLC Tempest aircraft ( Flight operations will be conducted at various field sites in the US to perform this proof-of-concept mission series. The minimum success criterion is to complete one flight at Pawnee National Grasslands with data capture sufficient to determine the suitability of this system. Comprehensive success is defined as two successful flights with data capture to demonstrate repeatability of the observations.

MALIBU was designed with the primary goal to assess and address difficulties related to the retrieval of land biophysical parameters from satellite observations (both polar-orbiting and geostationary). Key factors that can be addressed with MALIBU measurements include: (1) issues of satellite instrument stability and calibration; (2) atmospheric correction; (3) spatial scaling effects; and (4) directional reflectance anisotropy effects (BRDF). Moreover, MALIBU enables both timely and accurate in-situ data collection at a fraction of the costs of traditional NASA airborne science platforms, while significantly reducing the logistical and technical complexities of manned aircraft operations in remote geographical regions.

The end goal of this effort is to provide the international CEOS-Land Product Validation community ( with spatially and temporally continuous reference datasets for the assessment of long term satellite data records, including: (1) spectral surface reflectance, Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) and albedo, (2) burned area, (3) photochemical reflectance index (PRI), (4) leaf area index (LAI), and (5) fraction of absorbed photosynthetic active radiation (fAPAR). Another novel feature of the MALIBU system to be tested at Pawnee National Grasslands will be the capacity to sample both diurnal and seasonal landscape patterns under clear-sky conditions (often difficult at high latitudes). This will enable accurate mapping of vegetation and climate dynamics (e.g., earlier spring snow-melt and plant emergence) and ecosystem phenology across plot- to landscape-level scales.