During the week of 14th – 18th October, RCMRD conducted a training on Application of SAR for Forest Biomass Analysis. This training is part of a series of activities focused on building capacity and decision-making capabilities provided by RCMRD in conjunction with SERVIR and NASA. The training was given by Edward Ouko LULC & Ecosystems Lead and David Ongo a GIS Technician. Mr. Degelo Sendabo the Remote Sensing Officercoordinated the training. Most of the participants in the training included public officials.
SAR- Synthetic Aperture Radar – produces fine resolution images from a radar system. They are active sensors carried by satellites that emit radio waves at different frequencies in the microwave and do not need sunlight to “illuminate” the targets, these radio waves suffer little or no interference from the atmosphere making it possible to acquire images in places where clouds prevail over long periods of time, such as rainforests.
With these images it is possible to perform robust time series analysis and detect changes in the landscape, such as flooded areas, deforestation, degradation, regeneration, fires, agricultural areas, and biomass variation, thus becoming great complementary information to images from optical sensors aboard satellites like the Landsat series and Sentinel-2 for example.
The focus of this training was to bring radar basic concepts, pre-processing and applications of SAR data closer to the technicians who produce relevant information about ecosystems monitoring. And who often face issues working with optical data due to weather events and/or high cloud cover.
The use of SAR for remote sensing is particularly suited for
tropical countries. By proper selection of operating frequency, the
microwave signal can penetrate clouds, haze, rain and fog and
precipitation with very little attenuation, thus allowing operation
in unfavourable weather conditions that preclude the use of
visible/infrared system . Since SAR is an active sensor, which
provides its own source of illumination, it can therefore operate
day or night; able to illuminate with variable lookangle and can
select wide area coverage. In addition, the topography change can
be derived from phase difference between measurement using radar
interferomentry. SAR has been shown to be very useful over a wide
range of applications, including sea and ice monitoring , mining ,
oil pollution monitoring , oceanography , snow monitoring ,
classification of earth terrain  etc. The potential of SAR in a diverse
range of application led to the development of a number of airborne
and spaceborne SAR systems.
The 14th – 18th October, RCMRD, Nairobi
See photos here: https://flic.kr/s/
14th – 18th October, RCMRD, Nairobi