Remote Sens.2016, 8(2), 141; doi:10.3390/rs8020141 (registering DOI) - published 12 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instruments on-board both the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) spacecraft, with launch dates of October 2011 and December 2016 respectively, are cross-track scanners with an angular swath of ±56.06°. A four-mirror Rotating Telescope Assembly (RTA) is used for scanning combined with a Half Angle Mirror (HAM) that directs light exiting from the RTA into the aft-optics. It has 14 Reflective Solar Bands (RSBs), seven Thermal Emissive Bands (TEBs) and a panchromatic Day Night Band (DNB). There are three internal calibration targets, the Solar Diffuser, the BlackBody and the Space View, that have fixed scan angles within the internal cavity of VIIRS. VIIRS has calibration requirements of 2% on RSB reflectance and as tight as 0.4% on TEB radiance that requires the sensor’s gain change across the scan or Response Versus Scan angle (RVS) to be well quantified. A flow down of the top level calibration requirements put constraints on the characterization of the RVS to 0.2%–0.3% but there are no specified limitations on the magnitude of response change across scan. The RVS change across scan angle can vary significantly between bands with the RSBs having smaller changes of ~2% and some TEBs having ~10% variation. Within a band, the RVS has both detector and HAM side dependencies that vary across scan. Errors in the RVS characterization will contribute to image banding and striping artifacts if their magnitudes are above the noise level of the detectors. The RVS was characterized pre-launch for both S-NPP and JPSS-1 VIIRS and a comparison of the RVS curves between these two sensors will be discussed.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(2), 142; doi:10.3390/rs8020142 - published 10 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper investigates a simplified polarimetric decomposition for soil moisture retrieval over agricultural fields. In order to overcome the coherent superposition of the backscattering contributions from vegetation and underlying soils, a simplification of an existing polarimetric decomposition is proposed in this study. It aims to retrieve the soil moisture by using only the surface scattering component, once the volume scattering contribution is removed. Evaluation of the proposed simplified algorithm is performed using extensive ground measurements of soil and vegetation characteristics and the time series of UAVSAR (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar) data collected in the framework of SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) Validation Experiment 2012 (SMAPVEX12). The retrieval process is tested and analyzed in detail for a variety of crops during the phenological stages considered in this study. The results show that the performance of soil moisture retrieval depends on both the crop types and the crop phenological stage. Soybean and pasture fields present the higher inversion rate during the considered phenological stage, while over canola and wheat fields, the soil moisture can be retrieved only partially during the crop developing stage. RMSE of 0.06–0.12 m3/m3 and an inversion rate of 26%–38% are obtained for the soil moisture retrieval based on the simplified polarimetric decomposition.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(2), 140; doi:10.3390/rs8020140 - published 9 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The mangroves of the Rufiji Delta are an important habitat and resource. The mangrove forest reserve is home to an indigenous population and has been under pressure from an influx of migrants from the landward side of the delta. Timely and effective forest management is needed to preserve the delta and mangrove forest. Here, we investigate the potential of polarimetric target decomposition for mangrove forest monitoring and analysis. Using three ALOS PALSAR images, we show that L-band polarimetry is capable of mapping mangrove dynamics and is sensitive to stand structure and the hydro-geomorphology of stands. Entropy-alpha-anisotropy and incoherent target decompositions provided valuable measures of scattering behavior related to forest structure. Little difference was found between Yamaguchi and Arii decompositions, despite the conceptual differences between these models. Using these models, we were able to differentiate the scattering behavior of the four main species found in the delta, though classification was impractical due to the lack of pure stands. Scattering differences related to season were attributed primarily to differences in ground moisture or inundation. This is the first time mangrove species have been identified by their scattering behavior in L-band polarimetric data. These results suggest higher resolution L-band quad-polarized imagery, such as from PALSAR-2, may be a powerful tool for mangrove species mapping.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(2), 132; doi:10.3390/rs8020132 - published 8 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The panchromatic and multispectral (PMS) sensor is an optical imaging sensor aboard the Gao Fen-1 (GF-1) satellite. This work describes an approach to validate the calibration coefficients of the PMS sensors based on the image data of the Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI). Two image pairs, one obtained over the Dunhuang test site and the other over the Golmud test site, were used in this paper. Two spectral band adjustment factors (SBAF), given as the radiance SBAF and reflectance SBAF, were applied to correct the differences in the respective images caused by the relative spectral responses of the PMS sensor and OLI. Uncertainties in the SBAF values arising from atmospheric parameters and the absence of a measured ground spectrum were analyzed in this paper. The results show that the average relative differences of top-of-atmosphere radiance and reflectance values for each band between the PMS sensor and OLI images are 2%–5% for most bands, after SBAF correction with a measured ground spectrum or fitted spectrum. It is demonstrated that the OLI image can be used to validate the calibration coefficient of the PMS sensor, even if the image pairs are not imaged on the same day.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(2), 137; doi:10.3390/rs8020137 - published 8 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Land surface albedo (LSA), one of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) environmental data records (EDRs), is a fundamental component for linking the land surface and the climate system by regulating shortwave energy exchange between the land and the atmosphere. Currently, the improved bright pixel sub-algorithm (BPSA) is a unique algorithm employed by VIIRS to routinely generate LSA EDR from VIIRS top-of-atmosphere (TOA) observations. As a product validation procedure, LSA EDR reached validated (V1 stage) maturity in December 2014. This study summarizes recent progress in algorithm refinement, and presents comprehensive validation and evaluation results of VIIRS LSA by using extensive field measurements, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) albedo product, and Landsat-retrieved albedo maps. Results indicate that: (1) by testing the updated desert-specific look-up-table (LUT) that uses a stricter standard to select the training data specific for desert aerosol type in our local environment, it is found that the VIIRS LSA retrieval accuracy is improved over a desert surface and the absolute root mean square error (RMSE) is reduced from 0.036 to 0.023, suggesting the potential of the updated desert LUT to the improve the VIIRS LSA product accuracy; (2) LSA retrieval on snow-covered surfaces is more accurate if the newly developed snow-specific LUT (RMSE = 0.082) replaces the generic LUT (RMSE = 0.093) that is employed in the current operational LSA EDR production; (3) VIIRS LSA is also comparable to high-resolution Landsat albedo retrieval (RMSE < 0.04), although Landsat albedo has a slightly higher accuracy, probably owing to higher spatial resolution with less impacts of mixed pixel; (4) VIIRS LSA retrievals agree well with the MODIS albedo product over various land surface types, with overall RMSE of lower than 0.05 and the overall bias as low as 0.025, demonstrating the comparable data quality between VIIRS and the MODIS LSA product.
Remote Sens.2016, 8(2), 133; doi:10.3390/rs8020133 - published 8 February 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Semi-natural grasslands with grazing management are characterized by high fine-scale species richness and have a high conservation value. The fact that fine-scale surveys of grassland plant communities are time-consuming may limit the spatial extent of ground-based diversity surveys. Remote sensing tools have the potential to support field-based sampling and, if remote sensing data are able to identify grassland sites that are likely to support relatively higher or lower levels of species diversity, then field sampling efforts could be directed towards sites that are of potential conservation interest. In the present study, we examined whether aerial hyperspectral (414–2501 nm) remote sensing can be used to predict fine-scale plant species diversity (characterized as species richness and Simpson’s diversity) in dry grazed grasslands. Vascular plant species were recorded within 104 (4 m × 4 m) plots on the island of Öland (Sweden) and each plot was characterized by a 245-waveband hyperspectral data set. We used two different modeling approaches to evaluate the ability of the airborne spectral measurements to predict within-plot species diversity: (1) a spectral response approach, based on reflectance information from (i) all wavebands, and (ii) a subset of wavebands, analyzed with a partial least squares regression model, and (2) a spectral heterogeneity approach, based on the mean distance to the spectral centroid in an ordinary least squares regression model. Species diversity was successfully predicted by the spectral response approach (with an error of ca. 20%) but not by the spectral heterogeneity approach. When using the spectral response approach, iterative selection of important wavebands for the prediction of the diversity measures simplified the model but did not improve its predictive quality (prediction error). Wavebands sensitive to plant pigment content (400–700 nm) and to vegetation structural properties, such as above-ground biomass (700–1300 nm), were identified as being the most important predictors of plant species diversity. We conclude that hyperspectral remote sensing technology is able to identify fine-scale variation in grassland diversity and has a potential use as a tool in surveys of grassland plant diversity.