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Sensors 2017, 17(11), 2617;

Potential of Sentinel-1 Radar Data for the Assessment of Soil and Cereal Cover Parameters

CESBIO (CNRS/UPS/IRD/CNES), 18 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31401 Toulouse CEDEX 9, France
Université de Carthage/INAT/LR GREEN-TEAM, 43 Avenue Charles Nicolle, Tunis 1082, Tunisia
IRSTEA, UMR TETIS, 500 Rue François Breton, 34093 Montpellier CEDEX 5, France
IsardSAT, Parc Tecnològic Barcelona Activa, Carrer de Marie Curie, 8, 08042 Barcelona, Spain
Observatori de l’Ebre (OE), Universitat Ramon Llull-CSIC, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 September 2017 / Revised: 28 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors and Smart Sensing of Agricultural Land Systems)
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The main objective of this study is to analyze the potential use of Sentinel-1 (S1) radar data for the estimation of soil characteristics (roughness and water content) and cereal vegetation parameters (leaf area index (LAI), and vegetation height (H)) in agricultural areas. Simultaneously to several radar acquisitions made between 2015 and 2017, using S1 sensors over the Kairouan Plain (Tunisia, North Africa), ground measurements of soil roughness, soil water content, LAI and H were recorded. The NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) index computed from Landsat optical images revealed a strong correlation with in situ measurements of LAI. The sensitivity of the S1 measurements to variations in soil moisture, which has been reported in several scientific publications, is confirmed in this study. This sensitivity decreases with increasing vegetation cover growth (NDVI), and is stronger in the VV (vertical) polarization than in the VH cross-polarization. The results also reveal a similar increase in the dynamic range of radar signals observed in the VV and VH polarizations as a function of soil roughness. The sensitivity of S1 measurements to vegetation parameters (LAI and H) in the VV polarization is also determined, showing that the radar signal strength decreases when the vegetation parameters increase. No vegetation parameter sensitivity is observed in the VH polarization, probably as a consequence of volume scattering effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sentinel-1; radar; C-band; soil; moisture; roughness; vegetation; water cloud model; backscattering model Sentinel-1; radar; C-band; soil; moisture; roughness; vegetation; water cloud model; backscattering model

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Bousbih, S.; Zribi, M.; Lili-Chabaane, Z.; Baghdadi, N.; El Hajj, M.; Gao, Q.; Mougenot, B. Potential of Sentinel-1 Radar Data for the Assessment of Soil and Cereal Cover Parameters. Sensors 2017, 17, 2617.

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