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Notes from the Field

PALS Data First Look

June 8th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Andreas Colliander

Below are quick-look images from yesterday’s first science flights (June 7). A single polarization each of the radiometer and radar are shown. The data are from high-altitude lines 3 through 8 (lines 1 and 2 were not acquired). For reference, the study site map is also shown (at right).

The radiometer brightness temperature (Tb) and normalized radar cross-section (sigma-0) images are uncalibrated – default parameters were used to convert instrument counts to the respective Tb and sigma-0 quantities. No external calibration has been done at this stage using the lake reference data, however the lake data were used to check that the data levels were approximately correct.

Map of Study Area

PALS v-pol brightness temperature (Tb-v).

PALS vv-pol radar cross-section (sigma-0-vv).


To read more about these images, visit SMAP Blogs from the field.

Field Sampling

June 7th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Mike Cosh

June 7th was our first day of soil moisture sampling in the SMAPVEX12 experiment after two days of training and rehearsal. Beginning at 6:45am, 13 soil moisture teams set out to record surface soil moisture at 59 fields. By 2pm, the teams had returned successfully measuring moisture at 53 fields.

Installing a temporary network station

Justin and Marco sampling near a temporary network station in a spring wheat field.


For more information, visit SMAP Blogs from the Field

First Science Flights

June 7th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Eni Njoku

Today was planned as the first full day of science flights and soil moisture sampling. The morning Go/No-Go telecon confirmed our “Go” decision of yesterday evening, so the ground sampling crews were given the signal to head for the fields (an hour or more drive from Winnipeg) and the PALS folk headed for the airport.

Narendra Das on the soybean field #123. We should see a big difference in a few weeks!


For more information and to read a news release, visit SMAP Blogs from the Field.

Test Day

June 6th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Eni Njoku

Today was a test day, to go through the PALS/Twin Otter flight operations, and for the ground teams to get familiar with the soil and vegetation sampling equipment and the field site locations.

Richard (pilot) and Andreas getting the Twin Otter and PALS instrumentation ready.

Test Flight

We were at the airport by 8 am. The plane was outside being prepared by Richard and Dave (pilots). Andreas worked on the antenna external calibration target while Seth and Ian checked out the PALS electronics.

After the pre-flight briefing, take-off occurred as planned at about 10 am. The plane climbed and headed northwest towards Lake Manitoba for high and low altitude calibrations over water, and then turned southward to test maneuvers and data collection over a few of the designated field site flight lines. At 11:30 am the plane landed back at Winnipeg and we went through the debrief. Andreas checked the data back at the hotel (downloaded onto a thumb drive).

To read more, please visit SMAP Blogs from the Field.

Training Day & Area Control Centre

June 5th, 2012 by Brian Campbell

Eni Njoku

Arrived yesterday evening (Monday June 4) and settled into the Hilton Suites, Winnipeg near the airport. The Twin Otter had arrived a couple of days earlier from Grand Junction, Colorado via Wyoming and is hangared at Winnipeg airport.

Training (First Day)

Heather and Grant explain high points in the ROC.

Early Tuesday morning we headed for the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Regional Operations Center (ROC), Winnipeg located on the other side of town near the University of Manitoba campus. This is to be the training center and gathering place for SMAPVEX12 field operations. Heather McNairn (AAFC) the lead site organizer on the Canadian side, Mike Cosh (USDA) and Grant Wiseman (AAFC) were there to meet everyone, and after welcomes and a brief round of introductions including a summary of SMAP status from Eni and Peggy the training began.

For more, please visit SMAP Blogs from the Field