ALOS Kyoto & Carbon Initiative - Overview


The ALOS Kyoto & Carbon (K&C) Initiative is an international collaborative research project led by JAXA Earth Observation Research Center (EORC). Initiated in 2001, it forms the continuation of the (1995-2001) JERS-1 SAR Global Rain Forest and Global Boreal Forest Mapping project (GRFM/GBFM) into the era of JAXA's Advanced Land Observing Satellite mission series.

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, and from 2021, including also ALOS-4 PALSAR-3.

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 all JAXA’s SAR missions, 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 first so called “Post-KC” phase, as a part of JAXA’s broader Earth Observation Missions Research Program, 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.

ALOS K&C 24th Science Advisory Panel / Science Team Meeting Participants

K&C Science Team members

Science Team

To assure scientific relevance and alignment with relevant international activities, such as e.g. the Ramsar Convention, UNFCCC REDD+, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the GEO Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI)), the K&C Science Team consists of leading scientists active in the fields of forest and wetlands mapping and monitoring, carbon modelling and biophysical parameter retrieval. The Science Team currently has 28 members from 12 countries, representing research institutes, universities, national agencies for space/geospatial information, national forest mapping agencies, NGOs and private companies.

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