Remote Sens.2015, 7(7), 8416-8435; doi:10.3390/rs70708416 (registering DOI) - published 29 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Soil lead content is an important parameter in environmental and industrial applications. Chemical analysis, the most commonly method for studying soil samples, are costly, however application of soil spectroscopy presents a more viable alternative. The first step in the method is usually to extract some appropriate spectral features and then regression models are applied to these extracted features. The aim of this paper was to design an accurate and robust regression technique to estimate soil lead contents from laboratory observed spectra. Three appropriate spectral features were selected according to information from other research as well as the spectrum interpretation of field collected soil samples containing lead. These features were then applied to common Multiple Linear Regression (MLR), Partial Least Square Regression (PLSR) and Neural Network (NN) regression models. Results showed that although NN had adequate accuracy, it produced unstable results (i.e., variation of response in different runs). This problem was addressed with application of a Fuzzy Neural Network (FNN) with a least square training strategy. In addition to the stabilized and unique response, the capability of the proposed FNN was proved in terms of regression accuracy where a Ratio of Performance to Deviation (RPD) of 8.76 was achieved for test samples.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(7), 8391-8415; doi:10.3390/rs70708391 - published 26 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Surface reflectance has a central role in the analysis of land surface for a broad variety of Earth System studies. An accurate atmospheric correction, obtained by an appropriate selection of aerosol model, is the first requirement for reliable surface reflectance estimation. In the aerosol model, the type is defined by the physical and chemical properties, while the loading is usually described by the optical thickness at 550 nm. The aim of this work is to evaluate the radiative impact of the aerosol model on the surface reflectance obtained from Compact High Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (CHRIS) hyperspectral data over land by using the specifically developed algorithm CHRIS Atmospherically Corrected Reflectance Imagery (CHRIS@CRI) based on the 6SV radiative transfer model. We employed five different aerosol models: one provided by the AERONET inversion products (used as reference), three standard aerosol models in 6SV, and one obtained from the output of the GEOS-Chem global chemistry-transport model (CTM). The results obtained for the two case studies selected over Benelux show that in the absence of AERONET data on the scene, the best performing aerosol model is the one derived from CTM output.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(7), 8368-8390; doi:10.3390/rs70708368 - published 26 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Land cover classification has been widely investigated in remote sensing for agricultural, ecological and hydrological applications. Landsat images with multispectral bands are commonly used to study the numerous classification methods in order to improve the classification accuracy. Thermal remote sensing provides valuable information to investigate the effectiveness of the thermal bands in extracting land cover patterns. k-NN and Random Forest algorithms were applied to both the single Landsat 8 image and the time series Landsat 4/5 images for the Attert catchment in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, trained and validated by the ground-truth reference data considering the three level classification scheme from COoRdination of INformation on the Environment (CORINE) using the 10-fold cross validation method. The accuracy assessment showed that compared to the visible and near infrared (VIS/NIR) bands, the time series of thermal images alone can produce comparatively reliable land cover maps with the best overall accuracy of 98.7% to 99.1% for Level 1 classification and 93.9% to 96.3% for the Level 2 classification. In addition, the combination with the thermal band improves the overall accuracy by 5% and 6% for the single Landsat 8 image in Level 2 and Level 3 category and provides the best classified results with all seven bands for the time series of Landsat TM images.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(7), 8348-8367; doi:10.3390/rs70708348 - published 26 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Identifying historical forest disturbances is difficult, especially in selectively logged areas. LiDAR is able to measure fine-scale variations in forest structure over multiple kilometers. We use LiDAR data from ca. 16 km2 of forest in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to discriminate areas of old-growth from areas recovering from selective logging for 23 years. We examined canopy height variation and gap size distributions. We found that though recovering blocks of forest differed little in height from old-growth forest (up to 3 m), they had a greater area of canopy gaps (average 10.2% gap fraction in logged areas, compared to 5.6% in unlogged area); and greater numbers of gaps penetrating to the forest floor (162 gaps at 2 m height in logged blocks, and 101 in an unlogged block). Comparison of LiDAR measurements with field data demonstrated that LiDAR delivered accurate results. We found that gap size distributions deviated from power-laws reported previously, with substantially fewer large gaps than predicted by power-law functions. Our analyses demonstrate that LiDAR is a useful tool for distinguishing structural differences between old-growth and old-secondary forests. That makes LiDAR a powerful tool for REDD+ (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programs implementation and conservation planning.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(7), 8323-8347; doi:10.3390/rs70708323 - published 25 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) capability to detect slow deformation over terrain areas is limited by temporal decorrelation, geometric decorrelation and atmospheric artefacts. Multitemporal InSAR methods such as Persistent Scatterer (PS-InSAR) and Small Baseline Subset (SBAS) have been developed to deal with various aspects of decorrelation and atmospheric problems affecting InSAR observations. Nevertheless, the applicability of both PS-InSAR and SBAS in mountainous regions is still challenging. Correct phase unwrapping in both methods is hampered due to geometric decorrelation in particular when using C-band SAR data for deformation analysis. In this paper, we build upon the SBAS method implemented in StaMPS software and improved the technique, here called ISBAS, to assess tectonic and volcanic deformation in the center of the Alborz Mountains in Iran using both Envisat and ALOS SAR data. We modify several aspects within the chain of the processing including: filtering prior to phase unwrapping, topographic correction within three-dimensional phase unwrapping, reducing the atmospheric noise with the help of additional GPS data, and removing the ramp caused by ionosphere turbulence and/or orbit errors to better estimate crustal deformation in this tectonically active region. Topographic correction is done within the three-dimensional unwrapping in order to improve the phase unwrapping process, which is in contrast to previous methods in which DEM error is estimated before/after phase unwrapping. Our experiments show that our improved SBAS approach is able to better characterize the tectonic and volcanic deformation in the center of the Alborz region than the classical SBAS. In particular, Damavand volcano shows an average uplift rate of about 3 mm/year in the year 2003–2010. The Mosha fault illustrates left-lateral motion that could be explained with a fault that is locked up to 17–18 km depths and slips with 2–4 mm/year below that depth.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(7), 8300-8322; doi:10.3390/rs70708300 - published 25 June 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Secondary forest succession on abandoned agricultural land has played a significant role in land cover changes in Europe over the past several decades. However, it is difficult to quantify over large areas. In this paper, we present a conceptual framework for mapping forest succession patterns using vegetation structure information derived from LiDAR data supported by national topographic vector data. This work was performed in the Szczawnica commune in the Polish Carpathians. Using object-based image analysis segments of no vegetation, and sparse/dense low/medium/high vegetation were distinguished and subsequently compared to the national topographic dataset to delineate agricultural land that is covered by vegetation, which indicates secondary succession on abandoned fields. The results showed that 18.7% of the arable land and 40.4% of grasslands, that is 31.0% of the agricultural land in the Szczawnica commune, may currently be experiencing secondary forest succession. The overall accuracy of the approach was assessed using georeferenced terrestrial photographs and was found to be 95.0%. The results of this study indicate that the proposed methodology can potentially be applied in large-scale mapping of secondary forest succession patterns on abandoned land in mountain areas.