Measuring Carbon and Biomass via Satellite – March 2020

A number of satellite missions that aim at providing measurements of above ground biomass have been or are due to launched in the near future. These new data streams have the potential to close existing gaps in knowledge in critical areas such as global carbon stock.

The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS – see more on our International Engagement page) is working on the development of a good practices protocol for validation of above ground biomass products to ensure that users are able to access quantitative and seamless data across these missions.

As part of the CEOS “carbon and biomass” strategic action to promote the adoption of the biomass protocol, and to explore synergies assessing supersites with fully characterised land surface variables for validation of satellite-based land products, a workshop was held in Canberra, Australia in the week of 2nd March 2020.

Hosted by CSIRO’s Centre for Earth Observation, this workshop brought together 35 key scientists and practitioners from the biomass validation team, as well as representatives from in-situ biophysical measurement networks from around the world. Some outcomes of the workshop include:

  • potential extension of the population of biomass validation reference sites to fill critical gaps in the tropics and Asia
  • contributions from partners such as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA)
  • willingness of the Terrestrial Ecocystem Research network (TERN) or the Integrated Carbon Observing System (ICOS) to work with the Earth observation Land Product Validation communities
  • extension of the number of variables measured and to adapt protocols for Earth observation validation purposes


Workshop participants at CSIRO, Canberra