The Biomass Mission: Objectives and Requirements

Thuy Le Toan, Jerome Chave, Jørgen Dall, Kostas Papathanassiou, Philippe Paillou, Markus Rechstein, Shaun Quegan, Sassan Saatchi, Klaus Seipel, Hank Shugart, Stefano Tebaldini, Lars Ulander, Mathew Williams

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The Earth Explorer Biomass mission will provide the scientific community with accurate maps of tropical, temperate and boreal forest biomass, including height and disturbance patterns. This information is urgently needed to improve our understanding of the global carbon cycle and to reduce uncertainties in the calculation of carbon stocks and fluxes associated to the terrestrial biosphere. It is also crucial for approaches to managing climate, such as the UNFCCC initiative known as Reducing Emissions through Degradation and Deforestation (REDD+), aimed at climate change mitigation through conservation and better management of tropical forests The required measurements are forest biomass and forest height at resolution of 200 m, and detection of deforestation at 50 m. Global maps of biomass are required with accuracy of 20% (or l0 t ha-1 when above-ground biomass are less than 50 t ha-1). To achieve this Biomass will be implemented as a P-band SAR mission. It will exploit the unique sensitivity of P-band SAR together with advanced retrieval methods including polarimetric interferometry (Pol-InSAR) and SAR tomography to measure biomass, height and disturbances across the entire biomass range every 6 months. The mission will also support important secondary objectives, including sub-surface imaging in arid zones, production of a bare-earth DTM and ice applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIGARSS 2018 - IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium
Publication date2018
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5386-7150-4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event2018 International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS 2018) - Valencia, Spain
Duration: 22 Jul 201827 Jul 2018


Conference2018 International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS 2018)


  • BIOMASS mission
  • Carbon cycle
  • REDD+
  • Above-ground biomass
  • Forest height
  • Polarimetric interferometry
  • SAR tomography


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