Our projects come in many forms: from short-term to multi-year projects; commissioned projects, competitively funded and internal projects; fundamental science to application and service development; projects done by one person only or involving tens of researchers and stakeholders. The topics of our research are just as varied. Below are just some examples. If you want to know more just contact us, we’d love to tell you about it!

Integrating satellite observations into environmental accounts

STOTEN_fig1Environmental accounts can help to measure and protect our natural resources but must be detailed, frequent and comprehensive. Field data alone are not enough for this unless they can be integrated with satellite observations into biophysical models. This project makes use of the latest advances in satellite data analysis and model-data fusion to incorporate three valuable long-term satellite land cover data records into sub-accounts for biomass carbon, water and ecosystem integrity for each year since 1990. We will work with end users to cast these annual accounts into a useful form.
Funding:    Australian Research Council (LP130100789), Bureau of Meteorology
Partners:   Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Bureau of Statistics, CSIRO, Vandersat B.V.,  ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment

Mapping bushfire hazard and impacts

lidarGovernment agencies, individuals and businesses need accurate spatial information on fire hazard to prevent, avoid and manage impacts. Bushfire hazard depends not only on weather but also on landscape conditions. To date, there has not been much emphasis on routinely providing and using spatial information on landscape-related hazard factors in determining fire risk. Partly, this is because of a lack of reliable, consistent, accurate and long-term information. This project develops methods to produce the spatial information on fire hazard needed by planners, land managers and emergency services. The relevance and added value represented by these new information sources is compared to the practical feasibility and costs of their use. [More information]
Funding:    Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre
Partners:   CSIRO, University of Wollongong, University of Alcala (Spain), Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, Territory and Municipal Services, Australian Capital Territory, Country Fire Service South Australia, New South Wales Rural Fire Service, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania, Department of Defence, and others.

Forecasting drought impacts months ahead using satellite data

cropdroughtSkilful seasonal water and crop forecasts could do much to help cope with drought and water-related food crises. Recent advances in hydrological modelling and satellite remote sensing of surface soil moisture, landscape water storage and vegetation biomass have created a great opportunity to produce such forecasts over large areas. This project exploits that opportunity by assimilating the satellite observations into a global water and vegetation forecasting model. The resulting improvement in seasonal forecasts of stream flow, soil moisture and crop production will be quantified and compared to the limited forecasts that are currently available.
Funding:    Australian Research Council (DP140103679)
Partners:   Monash University, Princeton University and VU University Amsterdam

The Phenomic and Environmental Sensor Array

DCIM100MEDIABased at the ANU research forest in the National Arboretum Canberra, the Phenomic and Environmental Sensor Array collects and integrates data from micrometeorological towers, a distributed wireless environmental sensor network, and triangulated multi-billion pixel time lapse cameras that cover the research site at 1 cm resolution. The Array provides extremely detailed information from individual trees to the entire forest, every minute and hour. It captures how weather and climate affect growth as the individual trees mature into a closed forest. It will allow us to predict drought effects on growth and development for different eucalyptus species and genotypes, with implications for regenerating forest ecosystems under climate change, nationally and globally. [view latest measurements and images]
Funding:    The Australian National University Major Equipment Grants
Partners:   National Arboretum Canberra, CSIRO

Cosmic rays for fire and flood risk monitoring

The cosmic ray soil moisture probe is a recently invented technology that is set to revolutionise our ability to monitor soil and biomass moisture content. As a part of CSIRO’s CosmOz network, this project investigates the potential of this technology for flood and fire risk monitoring in a remote part of the Cotter catchment in Namadgi National Park. [View latest measurements here or here]
Funding:    Actew/ActewAGL Endowment Fund
Partners:   CSIRO, Actew, ACT government