Abstract: Estimates of above ground biomass density in forests are crucial for refining global climate models and understanding climate change. Although data from field studies can be aggregated to estimate carbon stocks on global scales, the sparsity of such field data, temporal heterogeneity and methodological variations introduce large errors. Remote sensing measurements from spaceborne sensors are a realistic alternative for global carbon accounting; however, the uncertainty of such measurements is not well known and remains an active area of research. This article describes an effort to collect field data at the Harvard and Howland Forest sites, set in the temperate forests of the Northeastern United States in an attempt to establish ground truth forest biomass for calibration of remote sensing measurements. We present an assessment of the quality of ground truth biomass estimates derived from three different sets of diameter-based allometric equations over the Harvard and Howland Forests to establish the contribution of errors in ground truth data to the error in biomass estimates from remote sensing measurements.
Abstract: This study presents a method for the reconstruction of pixels contaminated by optical thick clouds in multi-spectral Landsat images using multi-frequency SAR data. A number of reconstruction techniques have already been proposed in the scientific literature. However, all of the existing techniques have certain limitations. In order to overcome these limitations, we expose the Closest Spectral Fit (CSF) method proposed by Meng et al. to a new, synergistic approach using optical and SAR data. Therefore, the term Closest Feature Vector (CFV) is introduced. The technique facilitates an elegant way to avoid radiometric distortions in the course of image reconstruction. Furthermore the cloud cover removal is independent from underlying land cover types and assumptions on seasonality, etc. The methodology is applied to mono-temporal, multi-frequency SAR data from TerraSAR-X (X-Band), ERS (C-Band) and ALOS Palsar (L-Band). This represents a way of thinking about Radar data not as foreign, but as additional data source in multi-spectral remote sensing. For the assessment of the image restoration performance, an experimental framework is established and a statistical evaluation protocol is designed. The results show the potential of a synergistic usage of multi-spectral and SAR data to overcome the loss of data due to cloud cover.
Abstract: In this study, two different methods were applied to derive daily and monthly sunshine duration based on high-resolution satellite products provided by the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) Satellite Application Facility on Climate Monitoring using data from Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) SEVIRI (Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager). The satellite products were either hourly cloud type or hourly surface incoming direct radiation. The satellite sunshine duration estimates were not found to be significantly different using the native 15-minute temporal resolution of SEVIRI. The satellite-based sunshine duration products give additional spatial information over the European continent compared with equivalent in situ-based products. An evaluation of the satellite sunshine duration by product intercomparison and against station measurements was carried out to determine their accuracy. The satellite data were found to be within ±1 h/day compared to high-quality Baseline Surface Radiation Network or surface synoptic observations (SYNOP) station measurements. The satellite-based products differ more over the oceans than over land, mainly because of the treatment of fractional clouds in the cloud type-based sunshine duration product. This paper presents the methods used to derive the satellite sunshine duration products and the performance of the different retrievals. The main benefits and disadvantages compared to station-based products are also discussed.
Abstract: The analysis of experimental data collected by X-band SAR of COSMO-SkyMed (CSK®) and TerraSAR-X (TSX) images on the same surface types has shown significant differences in the signal level of the two sensors. In order to investigate the possibility of combining data from the two instruments, a study was carried out by comparing images collected with similar orbital and sensor parameters (e.g., incidence angle, polarization, look angle) at approximately the same date on two Italian agricultural test sites. Several homogenous agricultural fields within the observed area common to the two sensors were selected. Some forest plots have also been considered and used as a reference target). Direct comparisons were then performed between CSK and TSX images in different acquisition modes. The analysis carried out on the agricultural fields showed that, in general, the backscattering coefficient is higher in TSX Stripmap images with respect to CSK-Himage (about 3 dB), while CSK-Ping Pong data showed values lower than TSX of about 4.8 dB. Finally, a difference in backscattering of about 2.5 dB was pointed out between CSK-Himage and Ping-Pong images on agricultural fields. These results, achieved on bare soils, have also been compared with simulations performed by using the Advanced Integral Equation Model (AIEM).
Abstract: In the Sudano-Sahelian areas of Africa droughts can have serious impacts on natural resources, and therefore land surface moisture is an important factor. Insufficient conventional sites for monitoring land surface moisture make the use of Earth Observation data for this purpose a key issue. In this study we explored the potential of using reflectance data in the Red, Near Infrared (NIR), and Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) spectral regions for detecting short term variations in land surface moisture in the Sahel, by analyzing data from three test sites and observations from the geostationary Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite. We focused on responses in surface reflectance to soil- and surface moisture for bare soil and early to mid- growing season. A method for implementing detrended time series of the Shortwave Infrared Water Stress Index (SIWSI) is examined for detecting variations in vegetation moisture status, and is compared to detrended time series of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). It was found that when plant available water is low, the SIWSI anomalies increase over time, while the NDVI anomalies decrease over time, but less systematically. Therefore SIWSI may carry important complementary information to NDVI in terms of vegetation water status, and can provide this information with the unique combination of temporal and spatial resolution from optical geostationary observations over Sahel. However, the relation between SIWSI anomalies and periods of water stress were not found to be sufficiently robust to be used for water stress detection.
Abstract: Offshore wind resource maps for the coastal waters off Shirahama, Japan were made based on 104 images of the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) onboard the ENVISAT satellite. Wind speed fields were derived from the SAR images with the geophysical model function CMOD5.N. Mean wind speed and energy density were estimated using the Weibull distribution function. These accuracies were examined in comparison with in situ measurements from the Shirahama offshore platform and the Southwest Wakayama buoy (SW-buoy). Firstly, it was found that the SAR-derived 10 m-height wind speed had a bias of 0.52 m/s and a RMSE of 2.33 m/s at Shirahama. Secondly, it was found that the mean wind speeds estimated from SAR images and the Weibull distribution function were overestimated at both sites. The ratio between SAR-derived and in situ measured mean wind speeds at Shirahama is 1.07, and this value was used for a long-term bias correction in the SAR-derived wind speed. Finally, mean wind speed and wind energy density maps at 80 m height were made based on the corrected SAR-derived 10 m-height wind speeds and the ratio U80/U10 calculated from the mesoscale meteorological model WRF.