Remote Sens.2014, 6(8), 7732-7761; doi:10.3390/rs6087732 (registering DOI) - published 20 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Plant communities differ in their species composition, and, thus, also in their functional trait composition, at different stages in the succession from arable fields to grazed grassland. We examine whether aerial hyperspectral (414–2501 nm) remote sensing can be used to discriminate between grazed vegetation belonging to different grassland successional stages. Vascular plant species were recorded in 104.1 m2 plots on the island of Öland (Sweden) and the functional properties of the plant species recorded in the plots were characterized in terms of the ground-cover of grasses, specific leaf area and Ellenberg indicator values. Plots were assigned to three different grassland age-classes, representing 5–15, 16–50 and >50 years of grazing management. Partial least squares discriminant analysis models were used to compare classifications based on aerial hyperspectral data with the age-class classification. The remote sensing data successfully classified the plots into age-classes: the overall classification accuracy was higher for a model based on a pre-selected set of wavebands (85%, Kappa statistic value = 0.77) than one using the full set of wavebands (77%, Kappa statistic value = 0.65). Our results show that nutrient availability and grass cover differences between grassland age-classes are detectable by spectral imaging. These techniques may potentially be used for mapping the spatial distribution of grassland habitats at different successional stages.
Remote Sens.2014, 6(8), 7708-7731; doi:10.3390/rs6087708 (registering DOI) - published 20 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Stable nighttime light (NTL) data, derived from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Operational Linescan System (DMSP/OLS), are typically considered a proxy measure of the dynamics of human settlements and have been extensively used to quantitative estimates of demographic variables, economic activity, and land-use change in previous studies at both regional and global scales. The utility of DMSP data for characterizing spatio-temporal trends in urban development at a local scale, however, has received less attention. In this study, we utilize a time series of DMSP data to examine the spatio-temporal characteristics of urban development in 285 Chinese cities from 1992 to 2009, at both the local and national levels. We compare linear models and piecewise linear models to identify the turning points of nighttime lights and calculate the trends in nighttime light growth at the pixel level. An unsupervised classification is applied to identify the patterns in the nighttime light time series quantitatively. Our results indicate that nighttime light brightness in most areas of China exhibit a positive, multi-stage process over the last two decades; however, the average trends in nighttime light growth differ significantly. Through the piecewise linear model, we identify the saturation of nighttime light brightness in the urban center and significant increases in suburban areas. The maps of turning points indicate the greater the distance to the city center or sub-center, the later the turning point occurs. Six patterns derived from the classification illustrate the various characteristics of the nighttime light time series from the local to the national level. The results portray spatially explicit patterns and conspicuous temporal trends of urbanization dynamics for individual Chinese cities from 1992 to 2009.
Remote Sens.2014, 6(8), 7683-7707; doi:10.3390/rs6087683 - published 19 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A surface soil moisture (SSM) product at a 1-km spatial resolution derived from the Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) Global Monitoring (GM) mode data was evaluated over the entire African continent using coarse spatial resolution SSM acquisitions from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) and the Noah land surface model from the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS-NOAH). The evaluation was performed in terms of relative soil moisture values (%), as well as anomalies from the seasonal cycle. Considering the high radiometric noise of the ASAR GM data, the SSM product exhibits a good ability (Pearson correlation coefficient (R)= ~0.6 for relative soil moisture values and root mean square difference (RMSD) = 11% when averaged to 5-km resolution) to monitor temporal soil moisture variability in regions with low to medium density vegetation and yearly rainfall >250 mm. The findings agree with previous evaluation studies performed over Australia and further strengthen the understanding of the quality of the ASAR GM SSM product and its potential for data assimilation. Problems identified in the ASAR GM algorithm over arid regions were explained by azimuthal effects. Diverse backscatter behavior over different soil types was identified. The insights gained about the quality of the data were used to establish a reliable masking of the existing ASAR GM SSM product and the identification of areas where further research is needed for the future Sentinel-1-derived SSM products.
Remote Sens.2014, 6(8), 7660-7682; doi:10.3390/rs6087660 - published 19 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Semi-arid North-central Namibia has high potential for rice cultivation because large seasonal wetlands (oshana) form during the rainy season. Evaluating the distribution of surface water would reveal the area potentially suitable for rice cultivation. In this study, we detected the distribution of surface water with high spatial and temporal resolution by using two types of complementary satellite data: MODIS (MODerate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) and AMSR-E (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer–Earth Observing System), using AMSR2 after AMSR-E became unavailable. We combined the modified normalized-difference water index (MNDWI) from the MODIS data with the normalized-difference polarization index (NDPI) from the AMSR-E and AMSR2 data to determine the area of surface water. We developed a simple gap-filling method (“database unmixing”) with the two indices, thereby providing daily 500-m-resolution MNDWI maps of north-central Namibia regardless of whether the sky was clear. Moreover, through receiver-operator characteristics (ROC) analysis, we determined the threshold MNDWI (−0.316) for wetlands. Using ROC analysis, MNDWI had moderate performance (the area under the ROC curve was 0.747), and the recognition error for seasonal wetlands and dry land was 21.2%. The threshold MNDWI let us calculate probability of water presence (PWP) maps for the rainy season and the whole year. The PWP maps revealed the total area potentially suitable for rice cultivation: 1255 km2 (1.6% of the study area).
Remote Sens.2014, 6(8), 7632-7659; doi:10.3390/rs6087632 - published 19 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Rice and wheat are mainly planted in a row structure in China. Radiative transfer models have the potential to provide an accurate description of the bidirectional reflectance characteristics of the canopies of row-planted crops, but few of them have addressed the problem of row-planted structures. In this paper, a new 4SAIL-RowCrop model for row-planted rice and wheat canopies was developed by integrating the 4SAIL model and the Kimes geometric model. The Kimes model and the Kimes–Porous geometric optics (GO) module were used to simulate different scene component proportions. Spectral reflectance and transmittance were subsequently calculated using the 4SAIL model to determine the reflectance of crucial scene components: the illuminated canopy, illuminated background and shadowed background. The model was validated by measuring the reflectance of rice and wheat cultivars at different growth stages, planting densities and nitrogen fertilization rates. The directional and nadir reflectance simulated by the model agreed well with experimental data, with squared correlation coefficients of 0.69 and 0.98, root mean square errors of 0.013 and 0.009 and normalized root mean square errors of 15.8% and 12.4%, respectively. The results indicate that the 4SAIL-RowCrop model is suitable for simulating the spectral reflectance of the canopy of row-planted rice and wheat.
Remote Sens.2014, 6(8), 7610-7631; doi:10.3390/rs6087610 - published 19 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Time series data capture crop growth dynamics and are some of the most effective data sources for crop mapping. However, a drawback of precise crop classification at medium resolution (30 m) using multi-temporal data is that some images at crucial time periods are absent from a single sensor. In this research, a medium-resolution, 15-day time series was obtained by merging Landsat-5 TM and HJ-1 CCD data (with similar radiometric performances in multi-spectral bands). Subsequently, optimal temporal windows for accurate crop mapping were evaluated using an extension of the Jeffries–Matusita (JM) distance from the merged time series. A support vector machine (SVM) was then used to compare the classification accuracy of the optimal temporal windows and the entire time series. In addition, different training sample sizes (10% to 90% of the entire training sample in 10% increments; five repetitions for each sample size) were used to investigate the stability of optimal temporal windows. The results showed that time series in optimal temporal windows can achieve high classification accuracies. The optimal temporal windows were robust when the training sample size was sufficiently large. However, they were not stable when the sample size was too small (i.e., less than 300) and may shift in different agro-ecosystems, because of different classes. In addition, merged time series had higher temporal resolution and were more likely to comprise the optimal temporal periods than time series from single-sensor data. Therefore, the use of merged time series increased the possibility of precise crop classification.