We analyzed 2000–2004 growing-season SeaWinds Ku-band microwave backscatter and MODIS leaf area index (LAI) data over North America. Large anomalies in mid-growing-season mean backscatter and LAI, relative to 5-year mean values, occurred primarily in the western Great Plains; backscatter and LAI anomalies had similar spatial patterns across this region. Backscatter and LAI time series data for three ∼103 km2 regions in the western Great Plains were strongly correlated (r2 ∼ 0.6–0.8), and variability in mid-growing season values was well-correlated with annual precipitation (October through September). The results indicate that SeaWinds backscatter is sensitive to interannual variability in grassland biomass/productivity, and can provide an assessment that is completely independent of optical/near-infrared remote sensing instruments.
Geophysical Research Letters
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Frolking, S., M. Fahnestock, T. Milliman, K. McDonald, and J. Kimball (2005), Interannual variability in North American grassland biomass/productivity detected by SeaWinds scatterometer backscatter, Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L21409, doi:10.1029/2005GL024230.
Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union.