Great Lakes Basin Vegetation Change Analysis
Principal Investigators: Curt Edmonds1, Ricardo Lopez1, Dan Heggem1, Taylor Jarnagin1, Deb Chaloud1, David Bolgrien2, John Schneider3, Barry Bolka4 and Bert Guindon5
- U.S. EPA, ORD, Las Vegas, NV, USA
- Region 5/RMD/OIS
- Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing
Depict vegetation change in the Great Lakes Basin over a 20-year interval using Multispectral Scanner (MSS) satellite imagery available through the North American Landscape Characterization (NALC) Project. Vegetation change will be measured as the difference in the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), calculated from decadal image mosaics.
The NALC project was initiated under the Global Climate Change program in 1993 for the purpose of providing a consistent database over multiple decades for use in assessment of landscape changes. The NALC database has been used in the Tensas River Basin (LA) and the Mid-Atlantic area to demonstrate that vegetation change can be measured over large geographic areas. However this research has revealed some correctable inadequacies in the NALC data and emphasizes the need for additional research in vegetation change and accuracy assessment. With the purchase of data for the Canadian side of the basin and the correction of data deficiencies on the U.S. side of the basin, this project will yield an analysis of the Great Lakes Basin a contiguous ecosystem. That product will facilitate additional focused studies of vegetation change in sub-watersheds throughout the basin.
In general, changes in the growth of vegetation in the Great Lakes Region is constrained by biophysical conditions (e.g., geology, temperature, and humidity). Research suggests that such changes in vegetation cover may be a consequence of global-scale climatic change. Therefore, vegetation change in the Great Lakes Basin may be a response to shifts in the global climate, including changes in land-cover type and vegetation cover. Such landscape changes, particularly in the short term, may be most pronounced at ecotone boundaries.
- Study area: The conterminous Great Lakes Basin (U.S. and Canada)
- Data analyses: Canadian data will be processed by RADARSAT International of Canada and will be resampled to match the NALC data set. NDVI data will be generated from imagery for the Great Lakes Basin, and a change analysis conducted.
- Scale of analyses: Data resolution is 60 meters. Analyses will initially be performed on the entire Great Lakes Basin, and then performed at a smaller watershed scales. Subsequent work will extend the analyses across entire states bordering the Great Lakes.
- Nature of the final products: Image mosaics, vegetation change imagery, analysis report, and journal articles.
Currently, NALC datasets (a MSS image from the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's, and digital elevation data [DEM]) have been assembled for the entire U.S. To complete the vegetation change analysis for the entire Great Lakes Basin, imagery of the Canadian portion must be acquired. The Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing has offered the equivalent of 1990's imagery but it will be necessary to purchase 1970's imagery and DEMs.
- Technical Workshop at GLNPO; create project plan, refine objectives, outline technical procedures.
- Establish project boundaries, identify data/personnel resources, finalize plan.
- ORD delivers Lake Michigan Basin mosaic and vegetation change image.GLNPO & ORD review and analysis of Lake Michigan data.
- Technology Transfer Workshop at ORD Las Vegas; training of GLNPO and Region 5 personnel for image mosaic generation, NDVI calculations, and spatial analysis.
- ORD and GLNPO delivery of Great Lakes Basin mosaic and vegetation change image. GLNPO & ORD review and analysis U.S. Great Lakes Basin. (Pending funding for Canadian data).
- Journal articles: Measuring Vegetation Change in the Great Lakes Basin, and Techniques for Measuring of Large Scale Mosaic Quality.