NCEO Carbon Cycle

Lead Research Organisation: National Centre for Earth Observation

Abstract

The NCEO Carbon Cycle Programme aims to understand the feedbacks between physical and biological processes involving the carbon cycle, in order to predict changes in carbon fluxes at the Earth's surface. Understanding the role of the carbon cycle in the Earth system is crucial. It is closely coupled to greenhouse gas induced climate change, the water cycle, marine and land productivity and biodiversity. If we can better understand the interaction of physical and biological processes in the carbon cycle and climate, our ability to predict future changes in carbon fluxes and reservoirs will be enhanced. We need to quantify the global carbon budget, in regional detail, by combining space observations of surface processes with the next generation of atmospheric carbon and ground-based measurements. Our research priorities are: a) to combine satellite measurements of the Earth's surface and atmosphere with bio-physical models of the land and ocean, in order to quantify surface fluxes of carbon dioxide and methane, and understand the processes that drive them; b) to improve quantification of the role played by fire in the Earth system; c) to identify the relative weighting of the key processes affecting the carbon balance of the tropics and in so doing provide support for negotiations on the post-Kyoto Protocol reduced deforestation mechanism and the associated benefits for biodiversity; d) to determine the importance of shelf seas with their high biological productivity and hence strong draw down of CO2.

Publications

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Aiken J (2009) Phytoplankton pigments and functional types in the Atlantic Ocean: A decadal assessment, 1995-2005 in Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography

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Allen J (2009) A multivariate approach to model skill assessment in Journal of Marine Systems

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Andréfouët S (2008) Earth observations for marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystems in Remote Sensing of Environment

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Archibald S (2013) Defining pyromes and global syndromes of fire regimes. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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Archibald S (2010) Southern African fire regimes as revealed by remote sensing in International Journal of Wildland Fire

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Armston J (2013) Direct retrieval of canopy gap probability using airborne waveform lidar in Remote Sensing of Environment

 
Description 1. The following are key findings of the biogeochemical data assimilation work carried out in the past year: a) first demonstration that the assimilation of remotely sensed optical properties,(Kd) is a novel and advantageous approach for marine ecosystem simulations and understanding (Ciavatta et al., in revision); b) first demonstration that assimilation of ocean color can impact the model simulation of relevant carbon processes, such as the microbial loop and trophic web (Ciavatta et al., in revision) c) ocean color data assimilation is a useful tool to improve the estimation of i) Essential climate Variables (ECVs); ii) indicator of Good Ecological State (GES), and iii) carbon fluxes in the whole North West European shelf-sea. (Brewin, Ciavatta, Allen, et al, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, March 2014)



2. Assessment of state-of-the-art chemical transport model calculations of CO2 and CH4 against GOSAT satellite data. (Boesch, Parker and Hewson, Leicester, March 2014)



3. Generation of global multi-year CO2 and CH4 dataset from GOSAT. (Boesch, Parker and Hewson, Leicester, March 2014)



4. First observations of fire emission ratio of CO2/CH4 from space (with KCL). (Wooster, KCL; Boesch, Parker and Hewson, Leicester, March 2014)



5. Space-based surface flux estimates for CO2 and CH4 (Palmer et al Edinburgh; Chipperfield et al Leeds; Boesch, Parker and Hewson, Leicester, March 2014)



6. Assessment of biogenic emissions with long-term data of formaldeyhde from GOME-2. (Boesch, Parker and Hewson, Leicester, March 2014)



7. A climate projection for the northwest European shelf under high greenhouse gas concentrations: The NEMO-ERSEM coupled model was used to simulate the hydrodynamics and ecosystem of the northwest European shelf under a climate projection from 1980 to 2058. Atmospheric forcing was provided by the Hadley Centre's HadGEM2 model for a high greenhouse gas concentration scenario (IPCC-AR5 RCP8.5). The simulation was started in 1980 to allow validation against climatic conditions in the recent past. This is the first transient run of the coupled model for this region; earlier work involved simulating 10-20 year time slices at future time periods for comparison with past conditions. The transient approach removes uncertainties involved with model spin up and allows any emergent climate change signals to be identified compared to the variability of the system on annual to multi-decadal timescales.

(Wakelin, National Oceanographic Centre Liverpool, March 2014)



8. That for the first time it has been shown possible to measure emissions ratios of smoke within wildfire plumes, including with CO2 as the reference species (Which is important as CO2 is the primary emitted product in such plumes, and the primary GHG). (M Wooster, Kings College London, March 2014)



9. We proposed a new, physically-based model to derive canopy gaps and canopy cover from airborne lidar data. Canopy gaps and cover are important properties relating to vegetation type and state for ecology, biodiversity, and habitat mapping and monitoring. Airborne lidar is increasingly widely-used for this, particularly by national mapping and monitoring agencies. Until now this has relied on empirical methods that need local calibration, and are therefore not general. We demonstrated that our method works extremely well over various forested regions in Australia and in China. Our method is currently being trialled for large-scale canopy mapping by the Queensland government. (Disney, Lewis et al, UCL, March 2014)



10. We demonstrated the application of terrestrial laser scanning for estimating above ground biomass in tropical forests, for the first time. We deployed a new laser scanner in Gabon, W. Africa and showed that we could reconstruct tree height, volume and mass more accurately than current survey methods. Our method therefore allows us to estimate tropical forest biomass independent of the allometric (scaling) relationships that currently underpin all estimates of tropical forest carbon stocks. These relationships rely on historical destructive measurements of around 1600 trees worldwide, with none in Africa and few over 70 cm in diameter. In 3 weeks we measured nearly 1000 trees, thus almost doubling the possible number of trees for deriving allometrics in the tropics. We will be extending these measurements across the tropics with our newly-acquired NERC funded lidar instrument. (Disney, Lewis et al, UCL, March 2014)



11. We used all the available Earth Observation data to show that there are only a few different types of fire behaviour globally. This is of great importance in understanding fire ecology and disturbance, but it is also an excellent test of the ability of current fire models embedded in land surface schemes. (Disney, Lewis et al, March 2014)



12. We demonstrated a new method to blend all kinds of Earth Observation data in order to improve global vegetation monitoring capabilities. The methods are statistically sound, and rely on physically based interpretation of the signals. The proposed method places particular emphasis in uncertainty quantification. We released the software tools to allow other researchers to use them, and have recently run a training course to aid this process. (Disney, Lewis et al, March 2014)
Exploitation Route 1. The reanalysis of the North West European shelf biogeochemistry can be exploited to plan interventions to achieve good environmental status in the North West European Shelf (e.g. estimation of the maximum permissible loads from waste water treatment plants). (Brewin, Ciavatta, Allen, et al, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, March 2014)



8. Since the emission ratios are vital for emissions calculations - being able to directly measure them from space rather than just relying on lab measurements could potentially make GHG budgeting less uncertain in areas where fire is important (e.g. in Indonesia deforestation fires make up perhaps 80% of the GHG emission and it is the third largest GHG emitter worldwide). (M Wooster, Kings, 2014)



9.Method being tested by Australia govt monitoring programme for large-scale, via collaboration with Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, Queensland, and the Australian Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring Network. http://www.tern.org.au/ (Disney, Lewis et al, UCL, March 2014)



10. There is wide interest/application of forest biomass estimates for biodiversity and conservation, REDD+ preparation and for commercial forestry. We are working with groups in all of these sectors to exploit our new methods and results. http://blog.geog.ucl.ac.uk/blog-entries/gabon-quantifying-forest-structure (Disney, Lewis et al, March 2014).



12. The optical EO data related to the land surface that will be provided by the COPERNICUS programme could be processed using our method, to improve on inter-sensor calibration, more robust atmospheric correction, and also providing more accurate land surface monitoring. (Disney, Lewis et al. UCL, March 2014)










1. The reanalysis of the North West European shelf biogeochemistry can be exploited by Institutional Agency and Policy Maker to better assess the Environmental Status of the marine ecosystem in accordance to the requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. (Brewin, Ciavatta, Allen, et al, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, March 2014)



8. Potential to develop new spaceborne missions to exploit this capability. (M Wooster, Kings, March 2014)



9. A practical, widely-applicable method that is suitable for wide-scale mapping by government monitoring and forestry agencies. (Disney, Lewis et al, UCL, March 2014)
Sectors Environment

URL http://www.tern.org.au/
 
Description Application of new method We have developed a physical model that explains the change in reflectance due to fire, and that relates it to the impact of fire on vegetation. This is an important step, as burned area datasets are basically a binary map determining where (and when) fire happened, but not quantifying the impact of fire on the vegetation.
Sector Environment
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Modelling dissolved oxygen and benthic algae dynamics in a coastal ecosystem by exploiting real-time monitoring data
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Advancing marine ecosystem understanding and predictions using a novel data-assimilation method
Amount £65,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 1499085 
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2014 
End 03/2017
 
Description Advancing marine ecosystem understanding and predictions using a novel data-assimilation method
Amount £65,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 1499085 
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Application of a new bolometer processing technique for fire measurement
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Center for Earth Observation Instrumentation 
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 12/2013
 
Description Application of a new bolometer processing technique for fire measurement
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Center for Earth Observation Instrumentation 
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 08/2013
 
Description DEcadal Changes In PHytoplankton community Ecology though Remote sensing (DECIPHER)
Amount £61,461 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 04/2013 
End 03/2015
 
Description DEcadal Changes In PHytoplankton community Ecology though Remote sensing (DECIPHER)
Amount £61,461 (GBP)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start  
 
Description EU FP7: QA4ECV
Amount £127,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 607405 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2014 
End 12/2015
 
Description EU FP7: QA4ECV
Amount £127,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 607405 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2014 
End 12/2015
 
Description Environmental Data Use for Determining the Temporal Carbon Flow Consequences of Biomass for Energy
Amount £111,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 131531 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2014 
End 12/2014
 
Description Integrated Marine Biogeochemical Modelling Network to Support UK Earth System Research
Amount £157,487 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/K001299/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2014
 
Description Integrative Modelling for Shelf Seas Biogeochemistry
Amount £135,611 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/K001698/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2013 
End 03/2015
 
Description MELODIES
Amount £4,089,000 (GBP)
Funding ID FP7 603525 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2013 
End 03/2016
 
Description MELODIES
Amount £4,089,000 (GBP)
Funding ID FP7 603525 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description MYOCEAN II
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Ocean Colour 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description MYOCEAN II
Amount £35,000 (GBP)
Funding ID WP19 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description MYOCEAN II
Amount £35,000 (GBP)
Funding ID WP19 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2013
 
Description MYOCEAN II
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Ocean Colour 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2013
 
Description NERC Capital Award, Terrestrial Laser Scanner
Amount £118,000 (GBP)
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2014 
End 06/2014
 
Description NERC Capital Award, Terrestrial Laser Scanner
Amount £118,000 (GBP)
Organisation Research Councils UK (RCUK) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description OceanFlux Greenhouse Gases ESA Project, D Woolff
Amount € 350,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 11/2012 
End 10/2014
 
Description Operational Ecology (OPEC)
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID European Project (283291) 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description Operational Ecology (OPEC)
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Funding ID European Project (283291) 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2014
 
Description PURE Associate Project
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NERC 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2013 
End 03/2014
 
Description Shaun Quegan - Eurucas
Amount £111,350 (GBP)
Funding ID 295068 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2015
 
Description Shaun Quegan - Eurucas
Amount £111,350 (GBP)
Funding ID 295068 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description UK contribution to the internation Bio-Argo network
Amount £508,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/L012855/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2013 
End 03/2014
 
Description Understanding the information content in diverse observations of forest carbon stocks and fluxes for data assimilation and modelling
Amount £68,671 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/K00705X/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2013 
End 03/2017
 
Description Amazon Research 
Organisation Government of Brazil
Department State Gov Sao Paolo in Brazil
Country Brazil 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaboration with several groups from Sao Paolo State in Brazil (UK/Brazil Research Network for an Amazonian Carbon Observatory funded by NERC and FAPESP)
Start Year 2012
 
Description Collaboration with ICES working Group on hydrography 
Organisation Marine Scotland Science (MSS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaborated with this group to analyse all sustained temperature observations on NW shelf to validate model and EO trends and variablity.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Collaboration with Leicester and Surrey Satellite Technology on ESA Sentinel satellite 
Organisation Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution not available
Start Year 2012
 
Description Collaboration with Leicester and Surrey Satellite Technology on ESA Sentinel satellite 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution not available
Start Year 2012
 
Description Gabon National Parks Agency 
Organisation National Agency for National Parks (Gabon)
Country Gabon 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Laser scanning in tropical forests
Start Year 2011
 
Description Marine Ecosystem Models 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Methods for the validation of marine ecosystem models using Earth Observation data e.g wavelets
Start Year 2007
 
Description Marine ecosystem indicators from the biogeochemical model ERSEM: Sensitivity analysis 
Organisation Nansen Environmental Research Centre (India)
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Scientific collaboration and knowledge transfer within the EC FP7 Project "INDO-MARECLIM"
Start Year 2013
 
Description NEMO Shelf-sea reanalysis 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaborated with the UK Met Office in the development of NEMO-shelf towards a first shelf-sea reanalysis
Start Year 2008
 
Description OCO-2 Science Team 
Organisation National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Country United States 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Continued collaborations with the NASA OCO-2 teams, Hartmut Boesch is an OCO-2 Science Team member
Start Year 2009
 
Description TANSAT 
Organisation TanSat (CarbonSat) mission
Country China 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaboration with the Chinese TANSAT team through the ESA Dragon-3 project
Start Year 2011
 
Description UCL - RCN-SEES consortium (Research Coordination Network -- Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability) 
Organisation University College London
Department RCN-SEES consortium (Research Coordination Network -- Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Developed existing collaboration with Boston University (Strahler, Schaaf) to participate in new opportunities for ground-based laser scanning of forest structure. Proposal submitted to NSF.
 
Description UCL - Technical University of Tampere, Finland 
Organisation Tampere University of Technology
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution New collaboration to develop and exploit automated tree reconstruction methods from ground-based lidar. Journal publication arising and other field measurements and publications planned.
 
Description UCL - Technical University of Tampere, Finland 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution New collaboration to develop and exploit automated tree reconstruction methods from ground-based lidar. Journal publication arising and other field measurements and publications planned.
 
Description UCL - Univ. of Queensland and Queenland State Govt 
Organisation Bogazici University
Department Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute
Country Turkey 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Developed new collaboration for exploiting airborne and ground-based lidar measurements of canopy structure in Australian forest and savanna ecosystems. Journal poublications arising, and new datasets collected.
 
Description University of Leicester - Chinese TANSAT team 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Established new collaborations with Chinese TANSAT team for a joint ESA Dragon 3 proposal.
 
Description University of Leicester - Indonesia Australi FCP 
Organisation Indonesia Australia FCP Forest Conservation Policy
Country Papua New Guinea 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Indonesia Australia Forest Carbon Partnership (worked with this partnership on fire severity in a REDD+ demonstration project area in Indonesia as a contribution to development of a model for carbon emissions arising from degradation of tropical peat swamp forest).
 
Description University of Leicester - Indonesia Australi FCP 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Indonesia Australia Forest Carbon Partnership (worked with this partnership on fire severity in a REDD+ demonstration project area in Indonesia as a contribution to development of a model for carbon emissions arising from degradation of tropical peat swamp forest).
 
Description University of Leicester - JAXA Collaboration 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Continued collaboration with GOSAT teams at JAXA, Tokyo
 
Description University of Leicester - NASA 
Organisation University of Leicester
Department NASA Swift
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Continued collaboration with the NASA ACOS and OCO teams
 
Description University of Leicester - Tropical peat consortium 
Organisation Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation
Country Brazil 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Tropical peat consortium (worked with a group of UK scientists with an interest in tropical peatlands to develop journal papers and a funding proposal to Leverhulme (proposal submitted).
 
Description University of Leicester - Yonsei University, South Korea 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Established new collaboration with Yonsei University in South Korea. University of Leicester hosted two researchers at Leicester.
 
Description University of Leicester - Yonsei University, South Korea 
Organisation Yonsei University
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Established new collaboration with Yonsei University in South Korea. University of Leicester hosted two researchers at Leicester.
 
Description Yonsei University 
Organisation Yonsei University
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with researchers at Yonsei University, South Korea in retrieval of CO2 and CH4 from GOSAT
Start Year 2012
 
Description Gabon: quantifying forest structure 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Web article by Mat Disney, October 2013

Increase in requests for further information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Laser scanner captures Billy the African elephant 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Web article

No description available.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Laser-scanning elephants 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Website blog

Received requests for further information
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Not just for measuring trees: Laser scanner captures "Billy" the African elephant 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Web article

No description available.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Seminar at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Seminar given by Dr Hartmut Boesch June 2013

Increased the international science community's knowledge and understanding of NCEO's science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Shining a light on forest structure in Brisbane, Australia 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Blog article by Mat Disney

Increase in requests for further information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description What An Elephant Looks Like To Google's Self-Driving Car 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Web article

No description available.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013