SMAP Validation Experiment 2016 in Manitoba, Canada

PALS plane
SMAPVEX16-MB study site
Field sensor
Soil moisture map
Canola field

Vegetation characteristics

In order to assess the vegetation parameterization associated with soil moisture retrievals for both passive and active microwave sensors, the characterization of the vegetation is an important aspect of the SMAPVEX16-MB campaign.

The variety of crops grown in southern Manitoba is substantial, and the focus should be placed on major crops (winter and spring wheat, canola, oats, corn and (soy) beans). Two fields of pasture/forage will also be selected.

A number of vegetation properties will be measured during SMAPVEX16-MB campaign. Some of these properties are static (plant count, row spacing, row direction) and will be measured only once. Others are dynamic (Leaf Area Index, biomass, canopy water content, size, height, phenology, etc.) and require repeated measurements. For the dynamic properties, the sampling strategy will consist of collecting vegetation data at three sites per field, at least once per week due to significant changes in vegetation characteristics during the field campaign.

In addition a Crop Scan multi-spectral instrument will be used to capture the reflectance of crop canopy in order to characterize the general crop condition and growth state. Measurements will be recorded once a week.

Besides, a drone-mounted Micasense RedEdge 3 multispectral camera will be used to acquire field-scale multi-spectral crop scans. The drone schedule will be managed to facilitate the capture of a weekly image at each field during the campaign.

A summary of the vegetation sampling is presented in the following Table. More details can be found here.

Summary of vegetation sampling.
Vegetation propertyNumber of sites per fieldReplicates per siteInstrumentTemporal frequencyDescription of approachAssigned team
Static vegetation parameters
Plant count110Meter stick, tennis ballonceCount number of plants along 1 metreAAFC students prior to campaign
Row spacing110Meter stickonceMeasure the distance of the two rows adjacent to the plant density countAAFC students prior to campaign
Row direction11CompassonceMeasure row direction using magnetic North as a referenceAAFC students prior to campaign
Dynamic vegetation parameters
Leaf Area Index314Camera and fish eye lenseonce per week7 photos taken along 2 transects (14 in total)Biomass Team
Biomass and canopy water content310 plants for corn and soybean, 0.5 x 0.5 m sample for every other crop0.5 x 0.5 m squareonce per weekFor canola, wheat, oats, barley, grassland, tame hay, collect all biomass within square; for corn and soybeans, collect five plantsBiomass Team
Height310 plantsMeter stick or tape measureonce per weekMeasure height of plants that are collected from the biomass samples (10 plants, 5 in each row)Biomass Team
Phenology31BBCH scaleonce per weekDetermine phenology for all three biomass samplesLab Team
Point canopy reflectance114CropScanonce per weekOne CropScan measurement for each LAI site (on site 2 or 3 of the field)Biomass Team
Field scale reflectanceEntire field1Drone-mounted Micasense RedEdge 3 cameraonce per week, from May 30th to July 29thU of M. Team