Remote Sens.2014, 6(3), 2154-2175; doi:10.3390/rs6032154 (doi registration under processing) - published online 7 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Here, we evaluated the potential of using bathymetric Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) to characterise shallow water (<30 m) benthic habitats of high energy subtidal coastal environments. Habitat classification, quantifying benthic substrata and macroalgal communities, was achieved in this study with the application of LiDAR and underwater video groundtruth data using automated classification techniques. Bathymetry and reflectance datasets were used to produce secondary terrain derivative surfaces (e.g., rugosity, aspect) that were assumed to influence benthic patterns observed. An automated decision tree classification approach using the Quick Unbiased Efficient Statistical Tree (QUEST) was applied to produce substrata, biological and canopy structure habitat maps of the study area. Error assessment indicated that habitat maps produced were primarily accurate (>70%), with varying results for the classification of individual habitat classes; for instance, producer accuracy for mixed brown algae and sediment substrata, was 74% and 93%, respectively. LiDAR was also successful for differentiating canopy structure of macroalgae communities (i.e., canopy structure classification), such as canopy forming kelp versus erect fine branching algae. In conclusion, habitat characterisation using bathymetric LiDAR provides a unique potential to collect baseline information about biological assemblages and, hence, potential reef connectivity over large areas beyond the range of direct observation. This research contributes a new perspective for assessing the structure of subtidal coastal ecosystems, providing a novel tool for the research and management of such highly dynamic marine environments.
Remote Sens.2014, 6(3), 2134-2153; doi:10.3390/rs6032134 (doi registration under processing) - published online 7 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Vegetation in the Arctic is often sparse, spatially heterogeneous, and difficult to model. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) has shown some promise in above-ground phytomass estimation at sub-arctic latitudes, but the utility of this type of data is not known in the context of the unique environments of the Canadian High Arctic. In this paper, Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) were created to model the relationship between variables derived from high resolution multi-incidence angle RADARSAT-2 SAR data and optically-derived (GeoEye-1) Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI) values. The modeled SAVI values (i.e., from SAR variables) were then used to create maps of above-ground phytomass across the study area. SAVI model results for individual ecological classes of polar semi-desert, mesic heath, wet sedge, and felsenmeer were reasonable, with r2 values of 0.43, 0.43, 0.30, and 0.59, respectively. When the outputs of these models were combined to analyze the relationship between the model output and SAVI as a group, the r2 value was 0.60, with an 8% normalized root mean square error (% of the total range of phytomass values), a positive indicator of a relationship. The above-ground phytomass model also resulted in a very strong relationship (r2 = 0.87) between SAR-modeled and field-measured phytomass. A positive relationship was also found between optically derived SAVI values and field measured phytomass (r2 = 0.79). These relationships demonstrate the utility of SAR data, compared to using optical data alone, for modeling above-ground phytomass in a high arctic environment possessing relatively low levels of vegetation.
Remote Sens.2014, 6(3), 2108-2133; doi:10.3390/rs6032108 (doi registration under processing) - published online 7 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Gross primary production (GPP) plays an important role in the net ecosystem exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems. It is particularly important to monitor GPP in Southeast Asia because of increasing rates of tropical forest degradation and deforestation in the region in recent decades. The newly available, improved, third generation Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI3g) from the Global Inventory Modelling and Mapping Studies (GIMMS) group provides a long temporal dataset, from July 1981 to December 2011, for terrestrial carbon cycle and climate response research. However, GIMMS NDVI3g-based GPP estimates are not yet available. We applied the GLOPEM-CEVSA model, which integrates an ecosystem process model and a production efficiency model, to estimate GPP in Southeast Asia based on three independent results of the fraction of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by vegetation (FPAR) from GIMMS NDVI3g (GPPNDVI3g), GIMMS NDVI1g (GPPNDVI1g), and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) MOD15A2 FPAR product (GPPMOD15). The GPP results were validated using ground data from eddy flux towers located in different forest biomes, and comparisons were made among the three GPPs as well as the MOD17A2 GPP products (GPPMOD17). Based on validation with flux tower derived GPP estimates the results show that GPPNDVI3g is more accurate than GPPNDVI1g and is comparable in accuracy with GPPMOD15. In addition, GPPNDVI3g and GPPMOD15 have good spatial-temporal consistency. Our results indicate that GIMMS NDVI3g is an effective dataset for regional GPP simulation in Southeast Asia, capable of accurately tracking the variation and trends in long-term terrestrial ecosystem GPP dynamics.
Remote Sens.2014, 6(3), 2084-2107; doi:10.3390/rs6032084 (doi registration under processing) - published online 7 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The last decade has seen launches of radar satellite missions operating in X-band with the sensors acquiring images with spatial resolutions on the order of 1 m. This study uses digital surface models (DSMs) extracted from stereo synthetic aperture radar images and a reference airborne laser scanning digital terrain model to calculate the above-ground biomass and tree height. The resulting values are compared to in situ data. Analyses were undertaken at the Swedish test sites Krycklan (64°N) and Remningstorp (58°N), which have different site conditions. The results showed that, for 459 forest stands in Remningstorp, biomass estimation at the stand level could be performed with 22.9% relative root mean square error, while the height estimation showed 9.4%. Many factors influenced the results and it was found that the topography has a significant effect on the generated DSMs and should therefore be taken into consideration when the stand level mean slope is above four degrees. Different tree species did not have a major effect on the models during leaf-on conditions. Moreover, correct estimation within young forest stands was problematic. The intersection angles resulting in the best results were in the range 8–16°. Based on the results in this study, radargrammetry appears to be a promising potential remote sensing technique for future forest applications.
Remote Sens.2014, 6(3), 2069-2083; doi:10.3390/rs6032069 (doi registration under processing) - published online 7 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study proposed a new approach to measure the similarity between spectra to discriminate materials and evaluate the performance of parameter-selection procedures. Many pure pixel vector-based similarity measurements have been developed in the past to calculate the distance between two pixel vectors. However, those methods may not be effective since they do not take full advantage of the spectral correlation. In this study, we adopt Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition (EEMD) to decompose the spectrum into serial components and employ these components to improve the performance of spectral discrimination. Performance evaluation was conducted with several commonly used measurements, and the spectral samples used for experimentation were provided by the spectral library of United States Geological Survey (USGS). The experimental results have demonstrated that EEMD can extract the spectral features more effectively than common spectral similarity measurements, and it better characterizes spectral properties. Our experimental results also suggest general rules for selecting noise standard deviation, the number of iterations for EEMD and the collection of Intrinsic Mode Functions (IMFs) for classification. Finally, since EEMD is a time-consuming algorithm, we also implement parallel processing with a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to increase the processing speed.
Remote Sens.2014, 6(3), 2050-2068; doi:10.3390/rs6032050 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Temporal stability, defined as the change of accuracy through time, is one of the validation aspects required by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites’ Land Product Validation Subgroup. Temporal stability was evaluated for three burned area products: MCD64, Globcarbon, and fire_cci. Traditional accuracy measures, such as overall accuracy and omission and commission error ratios, were computed from reference data for seven years (2001–2007) in seven study sites, located in Angola, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Portugal, and South Africa. These accuracy measures served as the basis for the evaluation of temporal stability of each product. Nonparametric tests were constructed to assess different departures from temporal stability, specifically a monotonic trend in accuracy over time (Wilcoxon test for trend), and differences in median accuracy among years (Friedman test). When applied to the three burned area products, these tests did not detect a statistically significant temporal trend or significant differences among years, thus, based on the small sample size of seven sites, there was insufficient evidence to claim these products had temporal instability. Pairwise Wilcoxon tests comparing yearly accuracies provided a measure of the proportion of year-pairs with significant differences and these proportions of significant pairwise differences were in turn used to compare temporal stability between BA products. The proportion of year-pairs with different accuracy (at the 0.05 significance level) ranged from 0% (MCD64) to 14% (fire_cci), computed from the 21 year-pairs available. In addition to the analysis of the three real burned area products, the analyses were applied to the accuracy measures computed for four hypothetical burned area products to illustrate the properties of the temporal stability analysis for different hypothetical scenarios of change in accuracy over time. The nonparametric tests were generally successful at detecting the different types of temporal instability designed into the hypothetical scenarios. The current work presents for the first time methods to quantify the temporal stability of BA product accuracies and to alert product end-users that statistically significant temporal instabilities exist. These methods represent diagnostic tools that allow product users to recognize the potential confounding effect of temporal instability on analysis of fire trends and allow map producers to identify anomalies in accuracy over time that may lead to insights for improving fire products. Additionally, we suggest temporal instabilities that could hypothetically appear, caused by for example by failures or changes in sensor data or classification algorithms.