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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(4), 302;

Monitoring of the Lac Bam Wetland Extent Using Dual-Polarized X-Band SAR Data

German Aerospace Center (DLR), German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), Land Surface Department (LAX), Oberpfaffenhofen, Wessling 82234, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Javier Bustamante, Alfredo R. Huete, Patricia Kandus, Ricardo Díaz-Delgado and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 23 December 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 17 March 2016 / Published: 5 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue What can Remote Sensing Do for the Conservation of Wetlands?)
Full-Text   |   PDF [12289 KB, uploaded 5 April 2016]   |  


Wetlands in semi-arid Africa are vital as water resource for local inhabitants and for biodiversity, but they are prone to strong seasonal fluctuations. Lac Bam is the largest natural freshwater lake in Burkina Faso, its water is mixed with patches of floating or flooded vegetation, and very turbid and sediment-rich. These characteristics as well as the usual cloud cover during the rainy season can limit the suitability of optical remote sensing data for monitoring purposes. This study demonstrates the applicability of weather-independent dual-polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data for the analysis of spatio-temporal wetland dynamics. A TerraSAR-X repeat-pass time series of dual-co-polarized HH-VV StripMap data—with intervals of 11 days, covering two years (2013–2015) from the rainy to the dry season—was processed to normalized Kennaugh elements and classified mono-temporally and multi-temporally. Land cover time series and seasonal duration maps were generated for the following four classes: open water, flooded/floating vegetation, irrigated cultivation, and land (non-wetland). The added value of dual-polarimetric SAR data is demonstrated by significantly higher multitemporal classification accuracies, where the overall accuracy (88.5%) exceeds the classification accuracy using single-polarimetric SAR intensity data (82.2%). For relevant change classes involving flooded vegetation and irrigated fields dual-polarimetric data (accuracies: 75%–97%) are favored to single-polarimetric data (42%–87%). This study contributes to a better understanding of the dynamics of semi-arid African wetlands in terms of water areas including water with flooded vegetation, and the location and timing of irrigated cultivations. View Full-Text
Keywords: Burkina Faso; Kennaugh decomposition; Lac Bam; monitoring; radar polarimetry; SAR; time series; wetlands Burkina Faso; Kennaugh decomposition; Lac Bam; monitoring; radar polarimetry; SAR; time series; wetlands

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Moser, L.; Schmitt, A.; Wendleder, A.; Roth, A. Monitoring of the Lac Bam Wetland Extent Using Dual-Polarized X-Band SAR Data. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 302.

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