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Earth observation

This category contains 8 posts

Flat Earth or Globe?

[This is a long post. If you don’t have the stamina, skip to the conclusion.] Occasionally I get embroiled in a discussion with a Flat Earther on Facebook, and I know my friends and family are thinking, “No! Why are you wasting your time!?”    Here is why… Science is simply too important in a … Continue reading

4 Day Course on Radar Remote Sensing: 20-24 April

I am now making my Introduction to Radar Remote Sensing training course available to outside participants. This popular MSc module is intended to provide an introduction to the techniques used in radar remote sensing. With the increasing availability of satellite radar data it is becoming more important than ever to know how these systems work and to … Continue reading

“Introduction to Microwave Remote Sensing” – now an eBook

In 2005 I published my Introduction to Microwave Remote Sensing (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U4D8EJM).  It is now available as a Kindle eBook. At the moment, the eBook is simply a PDF replica of the print book, but because I have self-published it via Speckled Press, I have managed to keep it <$10, which is a substantial saving compared to … Continue reading

Where trees and people live

This is a follow on post from an earlier one called “The forest as a lived environment”.   One of my highlights of 2014 was getting my complimentary copy of Bill Liao’s book, “Forests: Reasons to be hopeful“.  As well as offering some advice on the scientific content of a few of the figures, I also … Continue reading

Why One Branch Size Dominates Radar Backscatter

Warning: technical post for geeky radar folks! There is a common rule of thumb that I have often seen presented that states that the radar backscatter from a forest canopy mostly originates from scattering elements that are similar in size to the wavelength being used.   Sometimes this is explained through attenuation effects of a full-cover … Continue reading

How high is an Earth observing satellite? (infographic)

I just created this infographic to help my students get a handle on the scales involved when dealing with Earth observation satellites, as well as linking this to the structure of the atmosphere. It’s different from the usual structure of the atmosphere diagrams as it’s focused on Earth observation, and since it is a scalable … Continue reading

Ceci n’est pas un arbre

To abstract the real world –  to “move away from the concrete world and move towards ideas and concepts” (Khan Academy lecture of “Abstract”) – is a skill shared by both artists and scientist. It is neatly illustrated in the process of abstracting trees for modelling satellite observations. In the science of remote sensing of forests we … Continue reading

Do we really understand the backscatter-biomass curve?

To misquote Muhammad Ali:  Anyone who views the world the same at forty five as he did at thirty has wasted fifteen years of his life. When I was thirty I used to explain the radar backscatter-biomass curve like this: When radar backscatter is plotted against forest above ground biomass[1], there is a good positive … Continue reading

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