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Aboveground Biomass Focus Area Contributions to International Structures


GCOS target requirements for Biomass were set as follows (GCOS-200):

Variable/Parameter Horizontal Resolution Vertical Resolution Temporal Resolution Accuracy Stability
Aboveground Biomass 1 km N/A Annual < 20% error for biomass values > 50 t/ha, and < 10% for biomass values ≤ 50 t/ha N/A

LPV Biomass contributes toward action items T36, T52, T53, T54, T55, T56 (2016 IP, GCOS-200).

Biomass Dashboard

The CEOS WGCV LPV Biomass Focus Area, in collaboration with the CEOS Land Surface Imaging - Virtual Constellation (LSI-VC) Forests & Biomass focus area, and others within CEOS contributing to the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) global stocktake, have created dashboard for the visualization of biomass products.

The Biomass Earthdata Dashboard was created by the NASA-ESA Multi-mission Algorithm and Analysis Platform (MAAP), and multiple biomass products are currently being analyzed through an open science Biomass Harmonization Activity that utilizes the MAAP.

CEOS Agency Biomass Missions

SpaceX Dragon launch

GEDI launch, December 5, 2018

SAOCOM 1B launch image

SAOCOM-1B Launch, Aug 30, 2020

There are currently ten BIOMASS-relevant missions expected to provide biomass estimations this decade.

The biomass focus area is engaged with the CEOS agencies involved, and will collaborate on site information and protocol development to maximize the utility of data, tools, and information for the benefit of all missions.

Below are details of recent and upcoming missions related to biomass estimation. At right are two recent successful mission launches.

Mission Agency Launch Date Data Type Measurement Resolution Product Resolution Spatial Coverage Accurary Requirements
ICESat-2 NASA 09/2018 532 nm photon counting lidar 13m footprint aggregated to 100 m transect NA Global NA
SAOCOM- 1A CONAE 10/2018 L band SAR 10-100m depending on mode NA Global NA
GEDI NASA 12/2018 1064 nm waveform lidar 25 m circular footprint 1 km2 Global btw ±52° N/S <20% standard error for 80% of forested 1 km cells
SAOCOM-1B CONAE 08/2020 L band SAR 10-100m depending on mode NA Global NA
ALOS-4 JAXA (2022) L band SAR 1-25 m depending on mode NA Global NA
NISAR NASA-ISRO (2023) L band SAR 3-10 m (depends on mode) 1 ha Global <20% RMSE for <100 Mg/ha
BIOMASS ESA (2022) P band SAR 60 x 50 m with >6 looks 4 ha Global (restricted in W Europe/US) <20% RMSE for AGB >50 Mg/ha; 10 Mg/ha for AGB ≤50 Mg/ha
MOLI JAXA (2023) 1064 nm waveform lidar 25 m circular footprint 250 m Global btw ±52° N/S 20 Mg/ha for <100 Mg/ha; 25% for >100 Mg/ha
TANDEM-L DLR (2023) L band SAR TBD 1 ha Global 20% accuracy or 20 Mg/ha
Copernicus HPCM ROSE-L ESA (2027) L band SAR TBD 1 ha Global TBD


The CEOS ad hoc Space Data Coordination Group (SDCG) for the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) was created to support the GFOI and forest carbon tracking. The biomass focus area collaborates with the SDCG and GFOI and together will promote the uptake of the forthcoming biomass protocol.

MAAP: ESA-NASA Multi-mission Algorithm and Analysis Platform

NASA and ESA have collaborated on a project together to support aboveground biomass research. The project is called the Multi-Mission Alogrithm and Analysis Platform (MAAP). The MAAP project will bring together data, algorithms and compute together in a cloud environment to address challenges of sharing and processing multiple data sources related to NASA and ESA missions, such as BIOMASS, NISAR, and GEDI.


GEO-TREES: Forest Biomass Reference System from Tree-by-Tree Inventory Data. This is a community-led activity to support the ongoing collection of new high-quality biomass reference data and the distribution and sharing of these data, building on existing networks and partnerships. This project, initiated in January 2021, was borne out of the CEOS LPV Validation Protocol development effort, and has recently received a very large (12M USD) investment from the Bezos Earth Fund.  The GEO-Trees efforts will be coordinated by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institution.


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