2023 144 ENV

Estimating Carbon Fluxes in Montane Meadows Using Remote Sensing of Phenology

By: William O'Brien

Department: Geography & Environment

Faculty Advisors: Dr. Leonhard Blesius, Dr. Andrew Oliphant, Dr. Jerry Davis

Montane meadows cover a small portion of terrain in the Sierra Nevada yet their ecosystem services are crucial in supporting biodiversity, regulating water flow, and capturing and storing carbon. This has become more pertinent as meadows show high sensitivity to anthropogenic influences related to degradation, restoration, and climate change. Our study looks at an actively managed meadow in Red Clover Valley, California where carbon fluxes have been observed using the eddy covariance method since 2020. Research on the remote sensing of phenological information has grown significantly in recent years for a variety of ecosystems using a range of platforms from tower-based digital cameras to satellite-based sensors. This study connects carbon fluxes derived from eddy covariance to phenological status derived from remote sensing indices, such as vegetation indices, to produce CO2 flux models. We test and present findings from both digital camera and satellite-based indices. Our results display strong seasonal variability in NEE and GPP for the study site, and good agreement between carbon exchange values using the eddy covariance method and data derived from both tower-based digital photography and satellite imagery.