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  1. The emerging sector of offshore kelp aquaculture represents an opportunity to produce biofuel feedstock to help meet growing energy demand. Giant kelp represents an attractive aquaculture crop due to its rapid growth and production, however precision farming over large scales is required to make this crop economically viable. These demands necessitate high frequency monitoring to ensure outplant success, maximum production, and optimum quality of harvested biomass, while the long distance from shore and large necessary scales of production makes in person monitoring impractical. Remote sensing offers a practical monitoring solution and nascent imaging technologies could be leveraged to provide dailymore »products of the kelp canopy and subsurface structures over unprecedented spatial scales. Here, we evaluate the efficacy of remote sensing from satellites and aerial and underwater autonomous vehicles as potential monitoring platforms for offshore kelp aquaculture farms. Decadal-scale analyses of the Southern California Bight showed that high offshore summertime cloud cover restricts the ability of satellite sensors to provide high frequency direct monitoring of these farms. By contrast, daily monitoring of offshore farms using sensors mounted to aerial and underwater drones seems promising. Small Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (sUAS) carrying lightweight optical sensors can provide estimates of canopy area, density, and tissue nitrogen content on the time and space scales necessary for observing changes in this highly dynamic species. Underwater color imagery can be rapidly classified using deep learning models to identify kelp outplants on a longline farm and high acoustic returns of kelp pneumatocysts from side scan sonar imagery signal an ability to monitor the subsurface development of kelp fronds. Current sensing technologies can be used to develop additional machine learning and spectral algorithms to monitor outplant health and canopy macromolecular content, however future developments in vehicle and infrastructure technologies are necessary to reduce costs and transcend operational limitations for continuous deployment in an offshore setting.« less
  2. The ability of in situ snowflake microphysical observations to constrain estimates of surface snowfall accumulations derived from coincident, ground-based radar observations is explored. As part of the High-Latitude Measurement of Snowfall (HiLaMS) field campaign, a Micro Rain Radar (MRR), Precipitation Imaging Package (PIP), and Multi-Angle Snow Camera (MASC) were deployed to the Haukeliseter Test Site run by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute during winter 2016/17. This measurement site lies near an elevation of 1000 m in the mountains of southern Norway and houses a double-fence automated reference (DFAR) snow gauge and a comprehensive set of meteorological observations. MASC and PIP observationsmore »provided estimates of particle size distribution (PSD), fall speed, and habit. These properties were used as input for a snowfall retrieval algorithm using coincident MRR reflectivity measurements. Retrieved surface snowfall accumulations were evaluated against DFAR observations to quantify retrieval performance as a function of meteorological conditions for the Haukeliseter site. These analyses found differences of less than 10% between DFAR- and MRR-retrieved estimates over the field season when using either PIP or MASC observations for low wind “upslope” events. Larger biases of at least 50% were found for high wind “pulsed” events likely because of sampling limitations in the in situ observations used to constrain the retrieval. However, assumptions of MRR Doppler velocity for mean particle fall speed and a temperature-based PSD parameterization reduced this difference to +16% for the pulsed events. Although promising, these results ultimately depend upon selection of a snowflake particle model that is well matched to scene environmental conditions.

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