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Remote Sens., Volume 4, Issue 3 (March 2012), Pages 561-809

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Research

Open AccessArticle Optimal Exploitation of the Sentinel-2 Spectral Capabilities for Crop Leaf Area Index Mapping
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 561-582; doi:10.3390/rs4030561
Received: 20 January 2012 / Revised: 15 February 2012 / Accepted: 21 February 2012 / Published: 28 February 2012
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (744 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The continuously increasing demand of accurate quantitative high quality information on land surface properties will be faced by a new generation of environmental Earth observation (EO) missions. One current example, associated with a high potential to contribute to those demands, is the multi-spectral
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The continuously increasing demand of accurate quantitative high quality information on land surface properties will be faced by a new generation of environmental Earth observation (EO) missions. One current example, associated with a high potential to contribute to those demands, is the multi-spectral ESA Sentinel-2 (S2) system. The present study focuses on the evaluation of spectral information content needed for crop leaf area index (LAI) mapping in view of the future sensors. Data from a field campaign were used to determine the optimal spectral sampling from available S2 bands applying inversion of a radiative transfer model (PROSAIL) with look-up table (LUT) and artificial neural network (ANN) approaches. Overall LAI estimation performance of the proposed LUT approach (LUTN50) was comparable in terms of retrieval performances with a tested and approved ANN method. Employing seven- and eight-band combinations, the LUTN50 approach obtained LAI RMSE of 0.53 and normalized LAI RMSE of 0.12, which was comparable to the results of the ANN. However, the LUTN50 method showed a higher robustness and insensitivity to different band settings. Most frequently selected wavebands were located in near infrared and red edge spectral regions. In conclusion, our results emphasize the potential benefits of the Sentinel-2 mission for agricultural applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Derivation of Relationships between Spectral Vegetation Indices from Multiple Sensors Based on Vegetation Isolines
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 583-597; doi:10.3390/rs4030583
Received: 31 January 2012 / Revised: 24 February 2012 / Accepted: 24 February 2012 / Published: 28 February 2012
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (427 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An analytical form of relationship between spectral vegetation indices (VI) is derived in the context of cross calibration and translation of vegetation index products from different sensors. The derivation has been carried out based on vegetation isoline equations that relate two reflectance values
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An analytical form of relationship between spectral vegetation indices (VI) is derived in the context of cross calibration and translation of vegetation index products from different sensors. The derivation has been carried out based on vegetation isoline equations that relate two reflectance values observed at different wavelength ranges often represented by spectral band passes. The derivation was first introduced and explained conceptually by assuming a general functional form for VI model equation. This process is universal by which two VIs of different sensors and/or different model equations can be related conceptually. The general process was then applied to the actual case of normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from two sensors in a framework of inter-sensor continuity. The derivation results indicate that the NDVI from one sensor can be approximated by a rational function of NDVI from the other sensor as a parameter. Similar result was obtained for the case of soil adjusted VI, enhanced VI, and two-band variance of enhanced VI. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using MODIS-NDVI for the Modeling of Post-Wildfire Vegetation Response as a Function of Environmental Conditions and Pre-Fire Restoration Treatments
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 598-621; doi:10.3390/rs4030598
Received: 31 January 2012 / Revised: 29 February 2012 / Accepted: 29 February 2012 / Published: 2 March 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1164 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Post-fire vegetation response is influenced by the interaction of natural and anthropogenic factors such as topography, climate, vegetation type and restoration practices. Previous research has analyzed the relationship of some of these factors to vegetation response, but few have taken into account the
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Post-fire vegetation response is influenced by the interaction of natural and anthropogenic factors such as topography, climate, vegetation type and restoration practices. Previous research has analyzed the relationship of some of these factors to vegetation response, but few have taken into account the effects of pre-fire restoration practices. We selected three wildfires that occurred in Bandelier National Monument (New Mexico, USA) between 1999 and 2007 and three adjacent unburned control areas. We used interannual trends in the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time series data derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to assess vegetation response, which we define as the average potential photosynthetic activity through the summer monsoon. Topography, fire severity and restoration treatment were obtained and used to explain post-fire vegetation response. We applied parametric (Multiple Linear Regressions-MLR) and non-parametric tests (Classification and Regression Trees-CART) to analyze effects of fire severity, terrain and pre-fire restoration treatments (variable used in CART) on post-fire vegetation response. MLR results showed strong relationships between vegetation response and environmental factors (p < 0.1), however the explanatory factors changed among treatments. CART results showed that beside fire severity and topography, pre-fire treatments strongly impact post-fire vegetation response. Results for these three fires show that pre-fire restoration conditions along with local environmental factors constitute key processes that modify post-fire vegetation response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Remote Sensing of Wildland Fires)
Open AccessArticle A New Algorithm for the Satellite-Based Retrieval of Solar Surface Irradiance in Spectral Bands
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 622-647; doi:10.3390/rs4030622
Received: 27 January 2012 / Revised: 24 February 2012 / Accepted: 25 February 2012 / Published: 2 March 2012
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (554 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Accurate solar surface irradiance data is a prerequisite for an efficient planning and operation of solar energy systems. Further, it is essential for climate monitoring and analysis. Recently, the demand on information about spectrally resolved solar surface irradiance has grown. As surface measurements
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Accurate solar surface irradiance data is a prerequisite for an efficient planning and operation of solar energy systems. Further, it is essential for climate monitoring and analysis. Recently, the demand on information about spectrally resolved solar surface irradiance has grown. As surface measurements are rare, satellite derived information with high accuracy might fill this gap. This paper describes a new approach for the retrieval of spectrally resolved solar surface irradiance from satellite data. The method combines a eigenvector-hybrid look-up table approach for the clear sky case with satellite derived cloud transmission (Heliosat method). The eigenvector LUT approach is already used to retrieve the broadband solar surface irradiance of data sets provided by the Climate Monitoring Satellite Application Facility (CM-SAF). This paper describes the extension of this approach to wavelength bands and the combination with spectrally resolved cloud transmission values derived with radiative transfer corrections of the broadband cloud transmission. Thus, the new approach is based on radiative transfer modeling and enables the use of extended information about the atmospheric state, among others, to resolve the effect of water vapor and ozone absorption bands. The method is validated with spectrally resolved measurements from two sites in Europe and by comparison with radiative transfer calculations. The validation results demonstrate the ability of the method to retrieve accurate spectrally resolved irradiance from satellites. The accuracy is in the range of the uncertainty of surface measurements, with exception of the UV and NIR ( ≥ 1200 nm) part of the spectrum, where higher deviations occur. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Icon-Based Synoptic Visualization of Fully Polarimetric Radar Data
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 648-660; doi:10.3390/rs4030648
Received: 18 January 2012 / Revised: 18 February 2012 / Accepted: 18 February 2012 / Published: 2 March 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The visualization of fully polarimetric radar data is hindered by traditional remote sensing methodologies for displaying data due to the large number of parameters per pixel in such data, and the non-scalar nature of variables such as phase difference. In this paper, a
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The visualization of fully polarimetric radar data is hindered by traditional remote sensing methodologies for displaying data due to the large number of parameters per pixel in such data, and the non-scalar nature of variables such as phase difference. In this paper, a new method is described that uses icons instead of image pixels to represent the image data so that polarimetric properties and geographic context can be visualized together. The icons are parameterized using the alpha-entropy decomposition of polarimetric data. The resulting image allows the following five variables to be displayed simultaneously: unpolarized power, alpha angle, polarimetric entropy, anisotropy and orientation angle. Examples are given for both airborne and laboratory-based imaging. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Influence of DEM Quality on Mapping Accuracy of Coniferous- and Deciduous-Dominated Forest Using TerraSAR‑X Images
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 661-681; doi:10.3390/rs4030661
Received: 12 February 2012 / Revised: 29 February 2012 / Accepted: 1 March 2012 / Published: 6 March 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1054 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change is a factor that largely contributes to the increase of forest areas affected by natural damages. Therefore, the development of methodologies for forest monitoring and rapid assessment of affected areas is required. Space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery with high resolution
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Climate change is a factor that largely contributes to the increase of forest areas affected by natural damages. Therefore, the development of methodologies for forest monitoring and rapid assessment of affected areas is required. Space-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery with high resolution is now available for large-scale forest mapping and forest monitoring applications. However, a correct interpretation of SAR images requires an adequate preprocessing of the data consisting of orthorectification and radiometric calibration. The resolution and quality of the digital elevation model (DEM) used as reference is crucial for this purpose. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to analyze the influence of the DEM quality used in the preprocessing of the SAR data on the mapping accuracy of forest types. In order to examine TerraSAR-X images to map forest dominated by deciduous and coniferous trees, High Resolution SpotLight images were acquired for two study sites in southern Germany. The SAR images were preprocessed with a Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) DEM (resolution approximately 90 m), an airborne laser scanning (ALS) digital terrain model (DTM) (5 m resolution), and an ALS digital surface model (DSM) (5 m resolution). The orthorectification of the SAR images using high resolution ALS DEMs was found to be important for the reduction of errors in pixel location and to increase the classification accuracy of forest types. SAR images preprocessed with ALS DTMs resulted in the highest classification accuracies, with kappa coefficients of 0.49 and 0.41, respectively. SAR images preprocessed with ALS DTMs resulted in greater accuracy than those preprocessed with ALS DSMs in most cases. The classification accuracy of forest types using SAR images preprocessed with the SRTM DEM was fair, with kappa coefficients of 0.23 and 0.32, respectively.Analysis of the radar backscatter indicated that sample plots dominated by coniferous trees tended to have lower scattering coefficients than plots dominated by deciduous trees. Leaf-off images were only slightly better suited for the classification than leaf-on images. The combination of leaf-off and leaf-on improved the classification accuracy considerably since the backscatter changed between seasons, especially in deciduous-dominated forest. Full article
Open AccessArticle Extracting More Data from LiDAR in Forested Areas by Analyzing Waveform Shape
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 682-702; doi:10.3390/rs4030682
Received: 8 January 2012 / Revised: 13 February 2012 / Accepted: 6 March 2012 / Published: 12 March 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (4061 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) in forested areas is used for constructing Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), estimating biomass carbon and timber volume and estimating foliage distribution as an indicator of tree growth and health. All of these purposes are hindered by the inability
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Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) in forested areas is used for constructing Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), estimating biomass carbon and timber volume and estimating foliage distribution as an indicator of tree growth and health. All of these purposes are hindered by the inability to distinguish the source of returns as foliage, stems, understorey and the ground except by their relative positions. The ability to separate these returns would improve all analyses significantly. Furthermore, waveform metrics providing information on foliage density could improve forest health and growth estimates. In this study, the potential to use waveform LiDAR was investigated. Aerial waveform LiDAR data were acquired for a New Zealand radiata pine plantation forest, and Leaf Area Density (LAD) was measured in the field. Waveform peaks with a good signal-to-noise ratio were analyzed and each described with a Gaussian peak height, half-height width, and an exponential decay constant. All parameters varied substantially across all surface types, ruling out the potential to determine source characteristics for individual returns, particularly those with a lower signal-to-noise ratio. However, pulses on the ground on average had a greater intensity, decay constant and a narrower peak than returns from coniferous foliage. When spatially averaged, canopy foliage density (measured as LAD) varied significantly, and was found to be most highly correlated with the volume-average exponential decay rate. A simple model based on the Beer-Lambert law is proposed to explain this relationship, and proposes waveform decay rates as a new metric that is less affected by shadowing than intensity-based metrics. This correlation began to fail when peaks with poorer curve fits were included. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Scanning in Forests)
Open AccessArticle A MODIS-Based Energy Balance to Estimate Evapotranspiration for Clear-Sky Days in Brazilian Tropical Savannas
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 703-725; doi:10.3390/rs4030703
Received: 3 February 2012 / Revised: 5 March 2012 / Accepted: 5 March 2012 / Published: 12 March 2012
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (1379 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Evapotranspiration (ET) plays an important role in global climate dynamics and in primary production of terrestrial ecosystems; it represents the mass and energy transfer from the land to atmosphere. Limitations to measuring ET at large scales using ground-based methods have motivated the development
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Evapotranspiration (ET) plays an important role in global climate dynamics and in primary production of terrestrial ecosystems; it represents the mass and energy transfer from the land to atmosphere. Limitations to measuring ET at large scales using ground-based methods have motivated the development of satellite remote sensing techniques. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the accuracy of the SEBAL algorithm for estimating surface turbulent heat fluxes at regional scale, using 28 images from MODIS. SEBAL estimates are compared with eddy-covariance (EC) measurements and results from the hydrological model MGB-IPH. SEBAL instantaneous estimates of latent heat flux (LE) yielded r 2= 0.64 and r2 = 0.62 over sugarcane croplands and savannas when compared against in situ EC estimates. At the same sites, daily aggregated estimates of LE were r 2 = 0.76 and r2 = 0.66, respectively. Energy balance closure showed that turbulent fluxes over sugarcane croplands were underestimated by 7% and 9% over savannas. Average daily ET from SEBAL is in close agreement with estimates from the hydrological model for an overlay of 38,100 km2 (r2 = 0.88). Inputs to which the algorithm is most sensitive are vegetation index (NDVI), gradient of temperature (dT) to compute sensible heat flux (H) and net radiation (Rn). It was verified that SEBAL has a tendency to overestimate results both at local and regional scales probably because of low sensitivity to soil moisture and water stress. Nevertheless the results confirm the potential of the SEBAL algorithm, when used with MODIS images for estimating instantaneous LE and daily ET from large areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle Increasing Spatial Detail of Burned Scar Maps Using IRS‑AWiFS Data for Mediterranean Europe
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 726-744; doi:10.3390/rs4030726
Received: 7 February 2012 / Revised: 6 March 2012 / Accepted: 7 March 2012 / Published: 15 March 2012
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (711 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A two stage burned scar detection approach is applied to produce a burned scar map for Mediterranean Europe using IRS-AWiFS imagery acquired at the end of the 2009 fire season. The first stage identified burned scar seeds based on a learning algorithm (Artificial
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A two stage burned scar detection approach is applied to produce a burned scar map for Mediterranean Europe using IRS-AWiFS imagery acquired at the end of the 2009 fire season. The first stage identified burned scar seeds based on a learning algorithm (Artificial Neural Network) coupled with a bootstrap aggregation process. The second stage implemented a region growing process to extend the area of the burned scars. Several ancillary datasets were used for the accuracy assessment and a final visual check was performed to refine the burned scar product. Training data for the learning algorithm were obtained from MODIS-based polygons, which were generated by the Rapid Damage Assessment module of the European Forest Fire Information System. The map produced from this research is the first attempt to increase the spatial detail of current burned scar maps for the Mediterranean region. The map has been analyzed and compared to existing burned area polygons from the European Forest Fire Information System. The comparison showed that the IRS-AWiFS-based burned scar map improved the delineation of burn scars; in addition the process identified a number of small burned scars that were not detected on lower resolution sensor data. Nonetheless, the results do not clearly support the improved capability for the detection of smaller burned scars. A number of reasons can be provided for the under-detection of burned scars, these include: the lack of a full coverage and cloud free imagery, the time lag between forest fires and image acquisition date and the occurrence of fires after the image acquisition dates. On the other hand, the limited spectral information combined with the presence of undetected cloud shadows and shaded slopes are reasons for the over-estimation of small burned scars. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Phase-Offset Estimation Method for InSAR DEM Generation Based on Phase-Offset Functions
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 745-761; doi:10.3390/rs4030745
Received: 9 January 2012 / Revised: 5 March 2012 / Accepted: 6 March 2012 / Published: 20 March 2012
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2112 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a novel method for estimating the absolute phase offset in interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) measurements for digital elevation model (DEM) generation. The method is based on “phase-offset functions (POF),” relating phase offset to topographic height, and are computed for
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This paper presents a novel method for estimating the absolute phase offset in interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) measurements for digital elevation model (DEM) generation. The method is based on “phase-offset functions (POF),” relating phase offset to topographic height, and are computed for two different overlapping interferometric data acquisitions performed with considerably different incidence angles over the same area of interest. For the purpose of extended mapping, opposite viewing directions are preferred. The two “phase-offset functions” are then linearly combined, yielding a “combined phase-offset function (CPOF)”. The intersection point of several straight lines (CPOFs), corresponding to different points in the overlap area allows for solving the phase offset for both acquisitions. Aiming at increasing performance and stability, this intersection point is found by means of averaging many points and applying principal component analysis. The method is validated against traditional phase offset estimation with corner reflectors (CR) using real OrbiSAR-1 data in X- and P-band. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing by Synthetic Aperture Radar Technology)
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Open AccessArticle Forest Delineation Based on Airborne LIDAR Data
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 762-783; doi:10.3390/rs4030762
Received: 18 January 2012 / Revised: 7 March 2012 / Accepted: 8 March 2012 / Published: 20 March 2012
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (8630 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The delineation of forested areas is a critical task, because the resulting maps are a fundamental input for a broad field of applications and users. Different national and international forest definitions are available for manual or automatic delineation, but unfortunately most definitions lack
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The delineation of forested areas is a critical task, because the resulting maps are a fundamental input for a broad field of applications and users. Different national and international forest definitions are available for manual or automatic delineation, but unfortunately most definitions lack precise geometrical descriptions for the different criteria. A mandatory criterion in forest definitions is the criterion of crown coverage (CC), which defines the proportion of the forest floor covered by the vertical projection of the tree crowns. For loosely stocked areas, this criterion is especially critical, because the size and shape of the reference area for calculating CC is not clearly defined in most definitions. Thus current forest delineations differ and tend to be non-comparable because of different settings for checking the criterion of CC in the delineation process. This paper evaluates a new approach for the automatic delineation of forested areas, based on airborne laser scanning (ALS) data with a clearly defined method for calculating CC. The new approach, the ‘tree triples’ method, is based on defining CC as a relation between the sum of the crown areas of three neighboring trees and the area of their convex hull. The approach is applied and analyzed for two study areas in Tyrol, Austria. The selected areas show a loosely stocked forest at the upper timberline and a fragmented forest on the hillside. The fully automatic method presented for delineating forested areas from ALS data shows promising results with an overall accuracy of 96%, and provides a beneficial tool for operational applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Scanning in Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Detecting Mountain Peaks and Delineating Their Shapes Using Digital Elevation Models, Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems Using Autometric Methodological Procedures
Remote Sens. 2012, 4(3), 784-809; doi:10.3390/rs4030784
Received: 16 December 2011 / Revised: 2 February 2012 / Accepted: 2 February 2012 / Published: 21 March 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (3057 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The detection of peaks (summits) as the upper parts of mountains and the delineation of their shape is commonly confirmed by inspections carried out by mountaineers. In this study the complex task of peak detection and shape delineation is solved by autometric methodological
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The detection of peaks (summits) as the upper parts of mountains and the delineation of their shape is commonly confirmed by inspections carried out by mountaineers. In this study the complex task of peak detection and shape delineation is solved by autometric methodological procedures, more precisely, by developing relatively simple but innovative image-processing and spatial-analysis techniques (e.g., developing inventive variables using an annular moving window) in remote sensing and GIS domains. The techniques have been integrated into automated morphometric methodological procedures. The concepts of peaks and their shapes (sharp, blunt, oblong, circular and conical) were parameterized based on topographic and morphologic criteria. A geomorphologically high quality DEM was used as a fundamental dataset. The results, detected peaks with delineated shapes, have been integratively enriched with numerous independent datasets (e.g., with triangulated spot heights) and information (e.g., etymological information), and mountaineering criteria have been implemented to improve the judgments. This holistic approach has proved the applicability of both highly standardized and universal parameters for the geomorphologically diverse Kamnik Alps case study area. Possible applications of this research are numerous, e.g., a comprehensive quality control of DEM or significantly improved models for the spatial planning proposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 100 Years ISPRS - Advancing Remote Sensing Science)
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