MONICA


 

 

A novel approach to monitoring the impact of climate change on Antarctic ecosystems.

Acronim: MONICA - ID: 197810

 

Summary:

The main goal of the project is to study impact of climate change on Antarctic ecosystem and biodiversity. The Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is exhibiting rapid regional warming. The study area on King George Island is located in the WAP region. Therefore the climate change poses a new challenge to the survival of Antarctic wildlife. Changes in land and marine ecosystems of the Antarctica result in changes of the range and abundance of the birds and marine mammals, as well as distribution of vascular plants which are an important ecological bioindicators. This project utilizes Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to collect baseline geospatial environmental data, which will be used to monitor climate change effects. In particular, we will study selected impacts of climate change on ecosystems and biodiversity, by quantifications of seal, penguin populations, flora distribution and glacier retreats. With the UAV-data we also develop high resolution vegetation maps and study changes in vegetation cover from previous mappings, and we will map new vegetation where glaciers have retreated. Maps demonstrating distribution and condition of biotic and abiotic environmental components will be created. Data collection will take place using UAVs recording data in multiple spectral ranges. An integral part of the study will include developing methods for processing digital multispectral images from various types of sensors carried by the UAVs. Data processing will be based on remote sensing algorithms used on the aerial photogrammetric material as well as on author’s own ground based methods developed by scientists participating in the project. Using these methods will allow future collection of photogrammetric material without the need to conduct additional ground measurements. All ecosystem changes studied will be related to changes in climate, and the work will lead to a unique UAV-based polar monitoring system, which can be adapted to other polar areas as well.


Project Promotor:
Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics Polish Academy of Sciences

Project Partners:
- Warsaw University of Technology, Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering, Institute of Aeronautics and Applied Mechanics
- Northern Research Institute Tromsø, NORUT

Principal Investigator:
Ph.D. D.Sc. K. J. Chwedorzewska (kchwedorzewska@ibb.waw.pl)

Work Packages:
WP number 1: Project management
WP leader: Ph. D. Anna Zmarz (azmarz@uw.edu.pl)
Start date 2013; End date 2016

WP number 2: Use of UAV to collect data
WP leader: Ph.D. D.Sc. Mirosław Rodzewicz (miro@meil.pw.edu.pl)
Start date 2013; End date 2016

WP number 3: Climate change impact on fauna
WP leader: Ph.D. Małgorzata Korczak-Abshire (mka@ibb.waw.pl)
Start date 2013; End date 2016

WP number 4: Climate change impact on flora
WP leader: Ph.D. Stein Rune Karlsen (Stein-Rune.Karlsen@norut.no)
Start date 2013; End date 2016

To fulfill the project main goals the sub-objectives are following:

  • adapt UAVs, equipped with advanced sensors, to the maritime Antarctic climate,
  • use UAVs to collect environmental data, also in the barely accessible areas on the King Georg Island,
  • use of the UAV data and other environmental data to study how climate change influences dynamics (population size, nesting sites distribution) of Pygoscelis penguin and pinniped populations dynamics (population size and distribution),
  • use of the UAV data and other environmental data to study how climate change influences dynamics of vegetation in the forefields of retreating glaciers and onmoraines of different ages.

For Antarctic missions existing UAV-platform CryoWing (Norwegian) and specially designed and manufactured PW-ZOOM plane (Polish) were used in the first season of project implementation. Both were adapted for operation in Polar Regions. Progress of work included: an adaptation of systems to detect icing conditions, as well as avoid carburetor icing, keep battery performance, land and takeoff under severe weather conditions were done. Operational procedures and maintenance procedures were adjusted. A thorough analysis of aircraft and operational procedures were done, integration and using unmanned aircraft were equipped with automatic control systems.
Norwegian and PW partners have designed modifications of the platform, and, equip it with high-resolution digital cameras and multispectral sensors, which were tested in low temperature environment. Flight tests were conducted. Integration of autopilots with flying platforms and optimization of UAVs: CryoWing (Norut) and ZOOM (PW) were performed. Norut has designed and flown a multicarrier communication system adapted to collect data and keep the combination of a satellite and UHF data links up for command and control as well as quality assurance and real time data monitoring.

 

Fig. 1 UAV-platform PW-ZOOM.

 
 
Fig. 2 UAV-platform CryoWing.

During the first Antarctic expedition all prepared UAV-platforms were used to collect data. The Polish-Norwegian team did 8 flights with a total distance of about 1500 km, in the time frame from 11 Nov to 6 Dec 2014. The image data was captured from an altitude of 350 - 400 meters above sea level and covered the coast lines and hatching areas along the coasts of King George Island. The ground resolution for the visible camera was approximately 5 cm (Figure 3) and infrared camera 40 cm. Images of this GSD allowed to locate and estimate the number of nests of Adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins (indicator species) and the size of pinniped populations from the breeding, resting and molting areas on the King George Island in Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) No. 128 Western Shore of Admiralty Bay and ASPA No 151 Lions Rump.


Fig.3 The image of ASPA 151 penguin colony with visible two species breeding groups, an example of results.


Fig.4. An example of penguin and pinniped populations size and distribution identification. Data collected  by  UAV.

Penguin and pinniped populations size and distribution mapping was performed. Analysis included a comparison of digital data with the data acquired from ground-based measurements.

 


Fig. 5. Ground censuses of penguin nests according to CEMP standard methods.

 

PRESENTATION


PUBLICATION 

(UAV Antarctic Survey link:  http://www.scienceonline.pl/nasze-teksty/nauki-o-ziemi/item/449-uav-antarctic-survey)


Publications, posters and promotion:

  1.  Zmarz A., Korczak-Abshire, M., Storvold R., Rodzewicz M, and Kędzierska I. 2015. Indicator species population monitoring in Antarctica with UAV. The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences. XL-1/W4: 189-193.
  2. Korczak-Abshire M., Zmarz A., Chwedorzewska K.J., Karlsen S.R., Rodzewicz M., Storvold R., Goraj Z.. UAV for monitoring of indicator species on Antarctic protected areas 34th Symposium of the European-Association-of Remote-Sensing-Laboratories (EARSeL) Location Warsaw 16 - 20 June 2014.
  3. Hajduk J., Rodzewicz M. Some optimization criteria of the UAV photogrammetric flight-tracks planning;34th Symposium of the European-Association-of Remote-Sensing-Laboratories (EARSeL) Location Warsaw, Poland, 16-20 June, 201
  4. Goraj Z. A specialized UAV for surveillance in windy, turbulent environment of the Antarctic coast. 29th Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences Location: St. Petersburg, Russia, 7 - 12 September 2014.
  5. Zmarz A., Korczak-Abshire M., Storvold R., Rodzewicz M. and Kedzierska I. Indicator species population monitoring in Antarctica with UAV. International Conference on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Geomatics, , Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 30 - September 02, 2015
  6. Goetzendorf-Grabowski T., Rodzewicz M. : Design of UAV for photogrammetric mission in Antarctic area. 5th CEAS Air and Space Conference  -"Challenges in European aerospace" organizowaną przez  Council of European Aerospace Societies, Delft, 7-11 September 2015, Paper CEAS-021
  7. Glowacki D., Hajduk J. Rodzewicz M.: "Methods of flight-path planning for UAV photogrammetry missions with consideration of aircraft dynamic properties". 5th CEAS Air and Space Conference  -"Challenges in European aerospace" organizowaną przez  Council of European Aerospace Societies, Delft, 7-11 September 2015, Paper CEAS-02.
  8. Zmarz A., Korczak-Abshire M., Karlsen S.R., Rodzewicz M., Storvold R., Goraj Z., Chwedorzewska K.J. Remote sensing techniques for monitoring the King George Island; XXXV Sympozjum Polarne, Wrocław, 4–7 czerwca 2014
  9. Goraj Z. A specialized UAV for surveillance in windy, turbulent environment of the Antarctic coast. 29th Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences September 7–12, 2014 St. Petersburg, Russia
  10. Rodzewicz M., Głowacki D. Investigations into load spectra of lightweight UAV's; 29th Congress of the International Council of the Aeronautical Sciences September 7–12, 2014 St. Petersburg, Russia
  11. Zmarz A. , Korczak- Abshire M., Chwedorzewska K. 2015 Morze widziane z nieba. ACADEMIA magazyn PAN. http://www.naukaonline.pl/nasze-teksty/nauki-o-ziemi/item/1632-morze-widziane-z-nieba
  12. Zmarz A. , Korczak- Abshire M., Chwedorzewska K. 2015  UAV Antarctic Survey, Academia PAN 1 (45) 2015.