Berg, Aaron

Dr. Aaron Berg
Professor; Graduate Program Coordinator
PhD, University of California, Irvine, 2003
519 824-4120 ext. 58514

Hydrology and remote sensing with applications to agriculture, land-atmosphere interactions and hydro-climatology

Soil moisture is an important component of the global water and energy cycle and in biogeochemical cycling.  Meteorological conditions such as the near surface air temperature, boundary layer mixing heights and precipitation have been shown to depend, in part, on the soil moisture state.  Accurate and timely soil moisture information has numerous applications in agricultural prediction and assessment, weather and climate prediction and streamflow prediction. Together with my research group we explore issues in hydrology using remote sensing and hydrological models.

My current areas of research are associated with following research networks and projects, well qualified students with interests in any of these topics are invited to contact me about opportunities for research funding:

GEOG*1300 Introduction to the Biophysical Environment
GEOG*1350 Earth: Hazards and Global Change
GEOG*3420 Remote Sensing of the Environment
GEOG*3610 Environmental Hydrology
GEOG*4110 Environmental Systems Analysis
GEOG*4690 Geography Field Research
GEOG*4990 Independent Study in Geography*
GEOG*6090 Geographic Research Methods
GEOG*6100 Geographic Scholarship and Research
GEOG*6610 Global Hydrology

*Over the past several years I have advised a number of students in independent studies (GEOG 4990). If students are looking for potential research opportunities I have a number of projects related to hydrology or remote sensing available.

Jaison Ambadan, Gordon Drewitt, Nasim Alavi, Tracy Rowlandson, Parinaz Rahimzadeh, Ehsan Roshani, Simon Zwieback, Ahmed Laamrani, Cameron Proctor, Manoj Kizhakkeniyil

An up-to-date list of my publications is available on Google Scholar

Shirriff* K, KC KB, Berg A. 2022. Evaluation of Agrobiodiversity and Cover Crop Adoption in Southern Ontario Field Crops. Agronomy. 12(2):415.

Berg, A., J. Thomas Ambadan*, A. Colliander, H. McNairn, J. Powers, E. Tetlock. 2022. The Impact of In-Situ Probe Orientation on SMAP Validation Statistics. IEEE Remote Sensing Letters. 19. 3000205. 10.1109/LGRS.2020.3018077

Chang*, Q., S. Zwieback, B. DeVries, A. Berg. 2022. Application of L-Band SAR for mapping tundra shrub biomass, leaf area index and rainfall interception. Remote Sensing of Environment. 268. 112747.

Chaubell, J., S. Yueh, S. Dunbar, A. Colliander, D. Entekhabi, S. Chan, F. Chen, X. Xu, R. Bindlish, P. O;Neill J. Asansuma, A. Berg, D.D. Bosch, T. Caldwell, M. Cosh, C. Holifield Collins, K. Jensen, J. Martinez-Fernandez, H. McNairn, M. Seyfried, P.J. Starks, Z. Su, M. Thibeault, J. Walker. 2022. Implementation and Analysis of the regularized dual-channel algorithm for the retrieval of soil moisture and vegetation optical depth for SMAP. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing. 15, 102-114. 10.1109/JSTARS.2021.3123932

Colliander, A., R.H. Reichle, W.T. Crow, M.H. Cosh, F. Chen, S. Chan, N. Das, R. Bindlish, M.J. Chaubell, S.B. Kim, Q. Liu, P. O’Neill, R.S. Dunbar, L. Dang,  J. Kimball, T.J. Jackson, H.K. al Jassar, J. Asanuma, B. K. Bhattacharya, A. Berg, D.D. Bosch, L. Bourgeau-Chavez, T. Caldwell, J-C. Calvet, W. Dorigo, C. Holifield Collins, K. Jensen, S. Livingston, E. Lopez-Baeza, J. Martínez-Fernández, H. McNairn, M. Moghaddam, C. Montzka, C. Notarnicola, T. Pellarin, J. Prueger, J. Pulliainen, J. Ramos, M. Seyfried, P. Starks, Z. Su, R. van der Velde, Y. Zeng, M. Thibeault, J.P. Walker, M. Zribi, D. Entekhabi, S. Yueh. 2022. Validation of soil moisture data products from the NASA SMAP mission. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing. 15, 364-392. 10.1109/JSTARS.2021.3124743

Lapierre, J., P.V. Ferrari Machado, Z. Bebruyn, S.E. Brown, S. Jordan, A. Berg, A. Biswas, H.A.L. Henry. C. Wagner-Riddle. 2022. Cover crop mixtures: a powerful strategy to reduce post-harvest surplus soil nitrate and leaching. Agriculture, Ecosystems and the Environment. 325. 107750.

Alijani*, Z., J. Lindsay, M. Chabot*, T. Rowlandson*, A. Berg. 2021. Sensitivity of C-Band SAR polarimetric variables to the directionality of surface roughness parameters. Remote Sensing. 13(11):2210.

Brown S, C. Wagner-Riddle, Z. Debruyn, S. Jordan, A. Berg, J.T. Ambadan*, K.A. Congreves, P.V. Machado. 2021. Assessing variability of soil water balance components measured at a new lysimeter facility dedicated to the study of soil ecosystem services. Journal of Hydrology. 2021 127037.

DeBeer, C.M., H. S. Wheater, J. W. Pomeroy, A. G. Barr, J. L. Baltzer, J. F. Johnstone, M. R. Turetsky, R. E Stewart, M. Hayashi, G. van der Kamp, S. Marshall, E. Campbell, P. Marsh, S. K. Carey, W. L. Quinton, Y. Li, S. Razavi, A. Berg, J. J. McDonnell, C, Spence, W. D. Helgason,  A. M. Ireson, T.A Black, B. Davison, A. Howard, J. M. Thériault, K. Shook, A. Pietroniro. 2021. Summary and synthesis of Changing Cold Regions Network (CCRN) research in the interior of western Canada–Part 2: Future change in cryosphere, vegetation, and hydrology. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 25. 1849-1882.

Eyre* R, Lindsay J, Laamrani* A, Berg A. 2021. Within-Field Yield Prediction in Cereal Crops Using LiDAR-Derived Topographic Attributes with Geographically Weighted Regression Models. Remote Sensing. 13(20):4152.

Pardo Lara* R, A. Berg, J. Warland, G. Parkin. Implications of measurement metrics on soil freezing curves: A simulation of freeze-thaw hysteresis. Hydrological Processes 35(7), e14269, 10.1002/hyp.14269 2021

Mardian*, J, A. Berg. B. Daneshfar, 2021. Evaluating the Temporal Accuracy of Grassland to Cropland Change Detection Using Multitemporal Image Analysis. Remote Sensing of Environment. 255, 112292.

Mavrovic A., R. Pardo Lara*, A. Berg, F. Demontoux, A. Royer, A. Roy. 2021. Soil dielectric characterization during freeze-thaw transitions using L-band coaxial probe and soil moisture probes. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 25, 1117-113.

Park, C-H., A. Berg, M.H. Cosh, A. Colliander, A. Behrendt, H. Manns, J. Hong, J. Lee, V. Wulfmeyer. 2021. An inverse dielectric mixing model at 50 MHz that considers soil organic carbon. Hydrology and Earth System Science. 25, 6407-6420.

I’m always happy to chat about research opportunities for students with interests in terrestrial hydrology and/or remote sensing. Positions are available for students at the PhD or MSc level. Several funded positions are typically available to students interested in the applied use of GIS and remote sensing for observation of soil moisture (both passive and active sensors), soil freeze thaw processes, and agricultural land management.  All projects provide excellent opportunities for combining field work, laboratory and computer analysis.  We have field sites in the arctic, within boreal forests, and in agricultural regions.  Students with backgrounds in Physical Geography or Geomatics, Physical Sciences, Engineering or Computer Sciences are encouraged to contact me to discuss available projects and funding opportunities.

Graduate Students Supervised

Name Research
Ph.D. Ballantyne, Charlie
Ph.D. Chang, Qianyu Ice content mapping of permafrost.
Ph.D. Merchant, Michael Research Interests: Wetland classification and monitoring using remote sensing, geospatial cloud computing, machine learning, and data fusion.
Ph.D. Pardo Lara, Renato Land surface freeze/thaw (F/T) transitions, particularly, landscape F/T signatures acquired from microwave remote sensing satellites in the context of the soil moisture F/T state
M.Sc. Wicks, Kayla Research interests: Remote sensing vegetation water content in forested environments.
Ph.D. Yekeen, Shamsudeen Geospatial Intelligence of the Environment, Hydrology, Climate Change Hazard Management, Oil Spill Remote sensing, and Land Use Landcover.
M.Sc. 2005 Powell, Luke R. Links Among Climate, Soil Moisture and Grasshopper Populations in Alberta.
M.Sc. 2007 Hansen, Dionne N. Soil moisture variability at the regional and Satellite Pixel Scale: Implications for Calibration/validation Networks.
M.Sc. 2007 Koukidis, Eleni N. The sensitivity of the statistical downscaling model (SDSM) to reanalysis products.
Ph.D. 2008 Alavi, Nasim Data assimilation techniques to improve evapotranspiration estimates.
M.Sc. 2009 Courtney, Lisa Evaluating the Controls of Soil Moisture Variability within the Canadian Land Surface Scheme (CLASS).
Ph.D. 2009 Dumedah, Gift Multi-Objective Calibration of Hydrological Models and Data Assimilation using Genetic Algorithms.
M.Sc. 2010 Adams, Justin [MSc] Sensitivity of Polarimetric C-band Synthetic Aperture RADAR to Field-Scale Soil Surface Parameters.
Ph.D. 2011 Champagne, Catherine Assessing agricultural drought conditions using remote sensing
M.Sc. 2011 Powell, Kate Evaluating soil moisture variability using Synthetic Aperture RADAR and LiDAR derived wetness indices.
M.Sc. 2011 Rogers, Jess Remote sensing for the prediction of wind erosion potential.
M.Sc. 2012 Impera, Sarah Validating In Situ Soil Moisture Monitoring Networks for use with Passive Microwave Soil Moisture Products.
M.Sc. 2012 McKeown, Steve Discrimination of agricultural land management practices using polarimetric Synthetic Aperture RADAR.
M.Sc. 2012 Melnychuk, Amie Multi-temporal crop classification using a decision tree in a Southern Ontario agricultural region.
M.Sc. 2013 Fuss, Colleen Increasing digital elevation model resolution using multi-observation, quad-polar, RADARSAT-2 imagery and data fusion techniques.
M.Sc. 2014 Belanger, Jonathon The role of soil moisture monitoring networks in the validation of remotely sensed soil moisture estimates.
M.Sc. 2014 Merchant, M. Allan Ecological classifications of the Taiga Plains Boreal Zone using Polarimetric SAR.
M.Sc. 2014 Roy, Swapan Role of data simulation in earth sciences.
M.Sc. 2014 Scriver, Rebecca Evaluating the effect of irrigation policies on urban energy budgets using remote sensing.
M.Sc. 2014 Woodrow, Kathryn Isolated Catchment Mapping in Southwestern Ontario Morainal Landscapes
Ph.D. 2015 Adams, Justin Active and passive microwave remote sensing of soil moisture: Validation and scaling over an agricultural region.
M.Sc. 2015 Burns, Travis Evaluating The Spatial And Temporal Variability Of Soil Moisture Within The Brightwater Creek Watershed, Saskatchewan, Canada
M.Sc. 2015 Humphrey, Rachel The dynamics of active layer soil moisture over Canadian Arctic tundra in Trail Valley Creek, NT observed in-situ and with remote sensing.
Ph.D. 2015 Manns, Hida Soil organic carbon in soil water content variability; detection and application in agricultural fields.
M.Sc. 2015 Warren, Rebecca Examining the spatial distribution of soil moisture and its relationship to vegetation and permafrost dynamics in a Subarctic permafrost peatland.
M.Sc. 2016 Chabot (Cowan), Melanie Characterizing Agricultural Surface roughness using a terrestrial laser scanner: Implications for soil moisture retrieval from remote sensing products.
M.Sc. 2016 Williamson, Matthew A critical evaluation of the Hydra Probe for use in the validation of remote sensing soil freeze/thaw products.
M.Sc. 2016 Woodley, William Investigating the scaling of an in situ soil moisture for satellite validation.
M.Sc. 2016 Wrona, Elizabeth Evaluation of Novel remote sensing techniques for soil moisture monitoring in the Western Canadian Arctic.
M.Sc. 2017 Carpino, Olivia Permafrost probability modelling and mapping in southern Northwest Territories and northeastern British Columbia.
M.Sc. 2017 MacDougall, Joshua E. Evaluating linear polarizations from C-band SAR to changes in vegetation and in-situ soil moisture over corn fields in SW Ontario
M.Sc. 2017 Ueckermann, Elené Evaluating the Utility of Remotely Sensed Soil Moisture for the Characterization of Runoff Response over Canadian Watersheds
M.Sc. 2018 White, Jenelle Characterizing wheat and canola yield sensitivity to the timing and duration of soil moisture extremes observed from microwave satellites.
M.Sc. 2019 Kopan, Melisa Examining Multiple Techniques to Interpolate Discrete soil moisture measurements using a large-scale lysimeter facility
M.Sc. 2020 Chang, Qianyu (MSc) Mapping shrub biomass, Leaf Area Index and rainfall interception capacities in Arctic tundra using L-band SAR.
M.Sc. 2020 Eyre, Riley Examining and Modelling the Relationship between Local Topographic Variation and Crop Yield Potential.
M.Sc. 2020 March, Michael Assessing the Performance of Multispectral Sensors Mounted on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for the Prediction of Soil Organic Carbon Levels at Field-Scale
M.Sc. 2020 Mardian, Jacob (MSc) Evaluating the Utility of Remote Sensing Time Series Analysis the Identification of Grassland Conversions in Alberta, Canada.
M.Sc. 2020 Shirriff, Katherine Investigation Of Cover Crop Adoption as a Soil Conservation Practice Across Southern Ontario”.
M.Sc. 2021 Miller, Bryce Exploration of Evapotranspiration (ET) Sensitivity to Vegetation Indices (VIs) Using Weighing Lysimeters
M.Sc. 2021 Oja, Matilda Understanding Factors Influencing Agricultural Expansion in the Canadian Boreal Forest.
M.Sc. 2022 Creen, Jay Determining the role of vegetation water content in L-band microwave soil moisture monitoring over the boreal forest.
M.Sc. 2022 MacRae, Heather Spatio-temporal variability of soil moisture in the Canadian boreal forest; influence of organic layer.
Ph.D. 2023 Alijani, Zohreh Investigation the Role of Factors Important for the Validation of Satellite Soil Moisture Retrievals: Applications of LiDAR Technology.
M.Sc. 2023 Lisso, Laura Examining the relationships between topography and suitable agricultural land for speciality crops.
Ph.D. 2023 Mardian, Jacob Enhancing drought monitoring and agricultural risk assessment in the Canadian prairies using earth observation and machine learning