Biomass monitoring mission for Carbon Assessment (BIOMASS)





For any questions or comments
on this mission, please contact :
thuy le TOAN at CESBIO

© Copyright 2009 CESBIO, 
Tous droits réservés

Selected by ESA in the Second Call for Earth Explorer Opportunity Missions

March 2, 2009

Coordinator: Thuy Le Toan



imagelogo ESA


A proposal in response to the ESA Second Call for Earth Explorer Core Missions :

  • Thuy Le Toan (Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère, France )
  • and Shaun Quegan (Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics, UK )

A P-band SAR payload is proposed to provide the spatial distribution and dynamics of forest biomass.

This proposal was proposed in response to the ESA Second Call for Earth Explorer Opportunity Missions in March 2005.

Climate change and its consequences constitute the most important environmental problem of the 21st century. The most critical element in understanding climate change is the quantification of the carbon cycle, of which a crucial component is the terrestrial biosphere. However, the status, dynamics and evolution of the terrestrial biosphere are the least understood and most uncertain elements in the carbon cycle, at all scales. Information on vegetation biomass is urgently needed to assess the present terrestrial carbon distribution. It is also essential, in combination with ecological models and other data sources, in order to identify carbon sources and sinks and their variation over time; to predict how these may change in the future; and to develop indicators of the status of the global climate system.


project situation

On 23 May 2006, ESA has announced the shortlist of new Earth Explorer mission proposals within its Living Planet Programme. This is part of the selection procedure that will eventually lead to the launch of the fourth Earth Explorer Core mission during the first half of the next decade. The six missions cover a range of environmental issues with the aim of furthering our understanding of the Earth system and changing climate. The BIOMASS project to take global measurements of forest biomass was ranged number one.

On march 2, 2009, this mission was selected by ESA. It is the very beginning of the A phase.


The role of remote sensing in forestry and ecological studies of the Carbon cycle image



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