MURI team to use hyperspectral remote sensing to study permafrost


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Tugce Baser
Tugce Baser

A multidisciplinary research team led by CEE Assistant Professor Tugce Baser will study the hyperspectral remote sensing of permafrost, thanks to a grant from the Department of Defense (DoD) as part of its Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program.

The project, called I’MSHARP for Interdisciplinary Material Science for the Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Permafrost, will study multiphysical permafrost properties through newly developed, multi-scale theoretical and experimental tools via remote sensing, light polarization and electromagnetic theory guided by knowledge of permafrost physical processes accumulated through many years of fieldwork. The team will explore the fundamental physical, chemical, electromagnetic, thermodynamic, hydraulic and mechanical properties of permafrost under current and changing environmental conditions that govern the remote sensing of permafrost at various wavelengths.

“Frozen ground is a crucial element affecting the rate and magnitude of Earth’s global warming because it plays a critical role in our planet’s water, heat and carbon cycle,” Baser said. “The spatial heterogeneity, temporal variability, and extensive area of Earth’s permafrost pose an enormous challenge for developing a unified picture of the current state and the evolution of Earth’s cold regions.”

In addition to Baser, the team includes Go Iwahana of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks; Michael Lanagan, The Pennsylvania State University; Joel Johnson, Ohio State University; Sahin Ozdemir, The Pennsylvania State University; and Vasit Sagan, Saint Louis University.

The highly competitive MURI grant program funds teams with diverse sets of expertise and creative scientific approaches to address highly complex and cross-disciplinary science and engineering challenges.

“The knowledge gained will advance our understanding of surface scattering from heterogenous structures for design of high-resolution hyperspectral sensors for better characterization and prediction of changes in permafrost landscapes and addressing the challenges indicated in the DoD climate action plan,” Baser said.

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This story was published March 18, 2024.