In order to increase the understanding of forests’ role in the carbon cycle, the US space agency, NASA, is developing Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) Lidar device, a laser-based system to study the Earth’s forests in 3D. The instrument is expected to built at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland to measure the distance from the space-based instrument to Earth’s surface with accuracy.
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GEDI also reveals the 3-D architecture of forests in unprecedented detail and will provide crucial information about the impact that trees have on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere along with global-scale insights into how much carbon is being stored in the forest bio-mass.
NASA said GEDI is scheduled to be ready in 2018 and being led by the University of Maryland, College Park.
“GEDI will be a tremendous new resource for studying Earth’s vegetation,” said Piers Sellers, deputy director of Goddard’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate.
“GEDI Lidar will have a tremendous impact on our ability to monitor forest degradation, adding to the critical data needed to mitigate the effects of climate change,” said Patrick O’Shea, chief research officer at the University of Maryland.