Microwave Remote Sensing
Marcela worked on the NASA LCLUC project entitled "Evaluating the effects of institutional change on regional hydrometeorology in Eurasian semi-arid grain belt" with Dr. Geoffrey Henebry.
Marcela studied the temporal dynamics of two of the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) Level 3 land products: Soil Moisture and Vegetation Water Content (VWC). Surficial soil moisture and the canopy water content play an important role in exchanges with the atmospheric boundary layer. They also have a potential in the numerical weather prediction models, large-scale hydrological modeling, and climate modeling. Microwave remote sensing is the only portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that allows quantitative estimation of surface moisture. This is due to the ability of microwaves to penetrate through clouds and partially also vegetation. Higher microwave frequencies are, on the other hand, partially absorbed by vegetation. Hence, the emitted signal contains information on vegetation properties.
The low spatial resolution of microwave radiometers leads to the emittance from many different land-cover classes to be mixed in a single 25km AMSR-E pixel. Thus, the proportion of land-cover classes is the key factors influencing the dynamics of soil moisture and VWC. Marcela uses finer spatial resolution MODIS products in help "unmix" AMSR-E products dynamics. In turn, the finer temporal resolution of the AMSR-E products aids understanding of the coarser temporal resolution MODIS composites.