ALOS Kyoto & Carbon Initiative - Overview

The ALOS Kyoto & Carbon Initiative is an international collaborative project led by JAXA Earth Observation Research Center (EORC). Initiated already in 2001, it forms the continuation of JAXA's JERS-1 SAR Global Rain Forest and Global Boreal Forest Mapping project (GRFM/GBFM) into the era of JAXA's Advanced Land Observing Satellites, ALOS (2006-2011) and ALOS-2 (launched May 24, 2014).

The ALOS K&C Initiative is set out to support explicit and implicit data and information needs raised by international environmental Conventions, Carbon Cycle Science, Climate Change and Conservation of the environment - referred to as the 4 Cs. Led and coordinated by EORC JAXA, the Initiative is being undertaken by an international Science Team, and focuses primarily on defining and optimizing provision of data products and validated thematic information derived from in-situ and satellite sensor data, in particular L-band radar data from JERS-1 SAR, ALOS PALSAR and ALOS-2 PALSAR-2.

The objective of the ALOS K&C Initiative is to define, develop and validate thematic products derived primarily from L-band SAR data that can be used to meet the specific information requirements relating to the 4 Cs. Of key importance for the K&C Initiative are the systematic data acquisition strategies developed and implemented for JERS-1, ALOS, and ALOS-2, comprising fixed, systematic global observation plans over regional (JERS-1) or global (ALOS and ALOS-2) scales. The strategies — also referred to as the Basic Observation Scenarios (BOS) — have been implemented as a top-level foreground missions and with a priority level second only to that of emergency observations.

The K&C Initiative is currently in its extended 4th phase, focusing on three thematic areas - Forest, Wetlands and Glaciers. Each theme has identified key products that can be generated from L-band SAR data, including e.g. forest extent and change, forest biomass and structure, global wetlands status and change and glacier movements.

Within the Wetlands Theme, there is a particular focus on mapping the status and changes of the world's mangrove forests through the K&C Global Mangrove Watch.

The K&C Science Team currently has 28 members from 18 countries, representing research institutes, universities, national agencies for space/geospatial information, national forest mapping agencies, NGOs and private companies.


K&C Science Team members

Scientific support

To assure scientific relevance in the K&C project design and alignment with other relevant international activities (e.g. the Ramsar Convention, UNFCCC REDD+ and the GEO Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI)), the K&C Initiative is supported by an international Scientific Advisory Panel. The panel consists of leading scientists active in the fields of forest and wetlands mapping and monitoring, carbon modeling and biophysical parameter retrieval.

Contact points

Dr. Takeo Tadono, Dr. Masato Hayashi
Earth Observation Research Center (EORC)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
Tsukuba, Japan

Dr. Ake Rosenqvist, K&C Science Coordinator
solo Earth Observation (soloEO)
Tokyo, Japan