Dr. Motoya of the Hydrological Cycle Research Program received
the "incentive prize" for a research paper
from the Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources


Dr. Motoya received award at the meeting of the Japan Society of Hydrological and Water Resources

Dr. Motoya of the Hydrological Cycle Research Program, in the Frontier Research Center for Global Change, has received the "incentive prize" for a research paper from the Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources. This prize is awarded annually to two or three recently published papers authored by young scientists up to 35 years of age. The winning paper, which appeared in the July 2003 issue of the Journal of the Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources, was titled "Spectral characteristic-based vegetation and snow indices on various surfaces in the Airborne Multi-Spectral Scanner (AMSS) two-altitude observation in 2001"[(J Jpn Soc Hydrol Water Resour, 16(4):408-419, 2003, in Japanese with English summary and figure captions)].

In this paper, Dr. Motoya applied new snow and vegetation indices (after Saito and Yamazaki, 1999) for snow-covered forests using airplane observation data, and confirmed their validity via remote sensing. The indices are based on ground truth observation, calculated from three-band (i.e., one visible, two near-infrared channels) spectral reflectance, and have the ability to detect snow cover under the forest canopy more exactly.

The study was highly valued on account of the following:

1. The validity of the new snow/vegetation indices was demonstrated by airplane observations of the spectral reflectance of the land surface.

2. The new indices can be calculated more easily than the normalized difference snow index (NDSI), which is widely used internationally, without the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI).

3. The indices are highly flexible in their application to various situations because the three optical bands are obtained by a fairly large number of earth observation satellites.

4. The study represents an interface between remote sensing of land surface conditions and ground-based observation.

These points highlight the reasons for which the Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources awarded Dr. Motoya's paper the incentive prize for a research paper.