Remote Sens.2016, 8(6), 449; doi:10.3390/rs8060449 (registering DOI) - published 26 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The European Space Agency has acquired 10 years of data on the temporal and spatial distribution of phytoplankton biomass from the MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) sensor for ocean color. The phytoplankton biomass was estimated with the MERIS product Algal Pigment Index 1 (API 1). Seasonal-Trend decomposition of time series based on Loess (STL) identified the temporal variability of the dynamical features in the MERIS products for water leaving reflectance (ρw(λ)) and API 1. The advantages of STL is that it can identify seasonal components changing over time, it is responsive to nonlinear trends, and it is robust in the presence of outliers. One of the novelties in this study is the development and the implementation of an automatic procedure, stl.fit(), that searches the best data modeling by varying the values of the smoothing parameters, and by selecting the model with the lowest error measure. This procedure was applied to 10 years of monthly time series from Sagres in the Southwestern Iberian Peninsula at three Stations, 2, 10 and 18 km from the shore. Decomposing the MERIS products into seasonal, trend and irregular components with stl.fit(), the ρw(λ) indicated dominance of the seasonal and irregular components while API 1 was mainly dominated by the seasonal component, with an increasing effect from inshore to offshore. A comparison of the seasonal components between the ρw(λ) and the API 1 product, showed that the variations decrease along this time period due to the changes in phytoplankton functional types. Furthermore, inter-annual seasonal variation for API 1 showed the influence of upwelling events and in which month of the year these occur at each of the three Sagres stations. The stl.fit() is a good tool for any remote sensing study of time series, particularly those addressing inter-annual variations. This procedure will be made available in R software.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(6), 448; doi:10.3390/rs8060448 (registering DOI) - published 26 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In Lesotho, snow cover is not only highly relevant to the climate system, but also affects socio-economic factors such as water storage for irrigation or hydro-electricity. However, while sound knowledge of annual and inter-annual snow dynamics is strongly required by local stakeholders, in-situ snow information remains limited. In this study, satellite data are used to generate a time series of snow cover and to provide the missing information on a national scale. A snow retrieval method, which is based on MODIS data and considers the concept of a normalized difference snow index (NDSI), has been implemented. Monitoring gaps due to cloud cover are filled by temporal and spatial post-processing. The comparison is based on the use of clear sky reference images from Landsat-TM and ENVISAT-MERIS. While the snow product is considered to be of good quality (mean accuracy: 68%), a slight bias towards snow underestimation is observed. Based on the daily product, a consistent time series of snow cover for Lesotho from 2000–2014 was generated for the first time. Analysis of the time series showed that the high annual variability of snow coverage and the short duration of single snow events require daily monitoring with a gap-filling procedure.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(6), 444; doi:10.3390/rs8060444 (registering DOI) - published 26 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We investigate terrestrial water storage (TWS) changes over the Sichuan Basin and the related impacts of water variations in the adjacent basins from GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment), in situ river level, and precipitation data. Although GRACE shows water increased over the Sichuan Basin from January 2003 to February 2015, two heavy droughts in 2006 and 2011 have resulted in significant water deficits. Correlations of 0.74 and 0.56 were found between TWS and mean river level/precipitation within the Sichuan Basin, respectively, indicating that the Sichuan Basin TWS is influenced by both of the local rainfall and water recharge from the adjacent rivers. Moreover, water sources from the neighboring basins showed different impacts on water deficits observed by GRACE during the two severe droughts in the region. This provides valuable information for regional water management in response to serious dry conditions. Additionally, the Sichuan Basin TWS is shown to be influenced more by the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) than the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), especially for the January 2003–July 2012 period with a correlation of −0.66. However, a strong positive correlation of 0.84 was found between TWS and ENSO after August 2012, which is a puzzle that needs further investigation. This study shows that the combination of other hydrological variables can provide beneficial applications of GRACE in inter-basin areas.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(6), 450; doi:10.3390/rs8060450 (registering DOI) - published 26 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Snow on Antarctic sea ice plays a key role for sea ice physical processes and complicates retrieval of sea ice thickness using altimetry. Current methods of snow depth retrieval are based on satellite microwave radiometry, which perform best for dry, homogeneous snow packs on level sea ice. We introduce an alternative approach based on in-situ measurements of total (sea ice plus snow) freeboard and snow depth, which we use to compute snow depth on sea ice from Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) total freeboard observations. We compare ICESat snow depth for early winter and spring of the years 2004 through 2006 with the Advanced Scanning Microwave Radiometer aboard EOS (AMSR-E) snow depth product. We find ICESat snow depths agree more closely with ship-based visual and air-borne snow radar observations than AMSR-E snow depths. We obtain average modal and mean ICESat snow depths, which exceed AMSR-E snow depths by 5–10 cm in winter and 10–15 cm in spring. We observe an increase in ICESat snow depth from winter to spring for most Antarctic regions in accordance with ground-based observations, in contrast to AMSR-E snow depths, which we find to stay constant or to decrease. We suggest satellite laser altimetry as an alternative method to derive snow depth on Antarctic sea ice, which is independent of snow physical properties.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(6), 443; doi:10.3390/rs8060443 (registering DOI) - published 25 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: An advanced SAR interferometric analysis has been combined with a methodology for the automatic classification of radar reflectors phase histories to interpret slope-failure kinematics and trend of displacements of slow-moving landslides. To accomplish this goal, the large dataset of radar images, acquired in more than 20 years by the two European Space Agency (ESA) missions ERS-1/2 and ENVISAT, was exploited. The analysis was performed over the northern sector of Island of Malta (central Mediterranean Sea), where extensive landslides occur. The study was assisted by field surveys and with the analysis of existing thematic maps and landslide inventories. The outcomes allowed definition of a model capable of describing the geomorphological evolution of slow-moving landslides, providing a key for interpreting such phenomena that, due to their slowness, are usually scarcely investigated.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(6), 447; doi:10.3390/rs8060447 - published 25 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper presents a new approach for the registration of airborne LiDAR point clouds by finding and matching corresponding linear plane features. Linear plane features are a type of common feature in an urban area and are convenient for obtaining feature parameters from point clouds. Using such linear feature parameters, the 3D rigid body coordination transformation model is adopted to register the point clouds from different trajectories. The approach is composed of three steps. In the first step, an OpenStreetMap-aided method is applied to select simply-structured roof pairs as the corresponding roof facets for the registration. In the second step, the normal vectors of the selected roof facets are calculated and input into an over-determined observation system to estimate the registration parameters. In the third step, the registration is be carried out by using these parameters. A case dataset with a two trajectory point cloud was selected to verify the proposed method. To evaluate the accuracy of the point cloud after registration, 40 checkpoints were manually selected; the results of the evaluation show that the general accuracy is 0.96 m, which is approximately 1.6 times the point cloud resolution. Furthermore, two overlap zones were selected to measure the surface-difference between the two trajectories. According to the analysis results, the average surface-distance is approximately 0.045–0.129 m.