Linking microwave signals to geomorphological process domains

This project will address the challenge of landscape heterogeneity for the application of time series data from satellites. The focus is on cold environments and terrain of different complexity. This study will build on recent advances in active and passive microwave remote sensing. A range of new satellites has been launched recently which will expand the application potential of such data considerably. Novel methodologies can be developed with respect to highly dynamic environmental processes across scales. Data gained with such methods provide e.g. insight into land surface phase changes which play a major role for geomorphological processes including triggering of natural hazards. The main objective is the identification of spatial and temporal dependencies of freeze/thaw processes in different environments and along environmental gradients with respect to geomorphological process domains. This will require the application of geospatial data analyses methods, time series analyses and the development of a concept for validation with in-situ monitoring techniques. Satellite datasets representing a range of frequencies, polarizations and spatial resolution will be utilized including coarse datasets which allow global near real time monitoring. Basic understanding for microwave remote sensing techniques is therefore a prerequisite for this research topic.

Research questions include

-     Is the available spatial and temporal resolution adequate to represent processes at landscape level?

 -     Can higher resolution SAR data be utilized to downscale coarse resolution globally available scatterometer data for enhanced near real time monitoring of phase change related land-surface processes? What models are applicable?