One of the areas having undergone the most significant agricultural change in the SWAP region is the Harran Plain in Southeastern Turkey. Below are cutouts from two Landsat MSS scenes, displayed in 421-RGB. The city of Sanliurfa is visible as a blue area in the upper left. The Harran plain is a primary target area for irrigation development under an ambitious Turkish hydropower/ irrigation/ water supply undertaking known as the GAP Project.
Both of the displayed scenes were imaged before water from the newly completed Ataturk reservoir was diverted to the region, but the 1992 scene (at right) shows a massive increase (~270%) in summer cropping as a result of the completion of irrigation infrastructure in anticipation of water delivery from the reservoir.
Multi-scene analysis of these images was preceded by radiometric and limited atmospheric correction using published sensor calibration equations for Landsat as well as the 6S model of radiative transfer.
The Jordan River watershed spans an area of 18,300 square kilometers in Jordan, Israel, the occupied West Bank, Syria, and a small portion of the Sinai desert in Egypt.
The territory in the vicinity of the Jordan basin serves as an ideal study site for both single scene photointerpretation and multi-temporal analysis. Because of the region's physiography and location with respect to regional weather patterns, substantial climatic and ecological variations routinely occur over short horizontal distances (10's of km). For example: the Huleh Valley, 20 km south of the foothills of Mt. Hermon (where the river rises), often receives above 1,300 mm of precipitation per annum. The lower Jordan Rift, less than 100 km to the south, averages well under 100 mm per annum.
Single scene interpretation is focusing on identifying land features and developing robust and reliable land classification techniques. Multi-temporal analysis is intended to investigate trends in irrigated and rainfed agriculture, urban and suburban sprawl, and the hydrologic and vegetative responses of desert and steppe systems to acute temporal variations in climate. The Jordan Basin contains several areas under intensive cultivation, including territory surrounding Damascus in Syria and the Galilee, Yizreel Valley and coastal plain regions of Israel. Comparisons between Israel proper, where irrigation is widespread, and the Occupied Territories, where rainfed agriculture predominates, will be invaluable. Urban growth trends will be readily gauged based on evaluation of several major cities within the scenes, including Amman, Damascus, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Gaza City, among others.
The Jordan valley also contains several critical international jurisdictions whose boundaries have a powerful bearing on land cover. The borders of the West Bank, whose access to water limits its irrigation capability, can be easily resolved from space during the summer months due to contrasts with the irrigated lands in Israel proper.