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Remote Sens., Volume 10, Issue 7 (July 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) In the last 10 years, developments in robotics, computer vision, and sensor technology have [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle 2-D Coherent Integration Processing and Detecting of Aircrafts Using GNSS-Based Passive Radar
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071164
Received: 9 May 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 15 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Long time coherent integration is a vital method for improving the detection ability of global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based passive radar, because the GNSS signal is not radar-designed and its power level is very low. For aircraft detection, the large range cell migration
[...] Read more.
Long time coherent integration is a vital method for improving the detection ability of global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based passive radar, because the GNSS signal is not radar-designed and its power level is very low. For aircraft detection, the large range cell migration (RCM) and Doppler frequency migration (DFM) will seriously affect the coherent processing of azimuth signals, and the traditional range match filter will also be mismatched due to the Doppler-intolerant characteristic of GNSS signals. Accordingly, the energy loss of 2-dimensional (2-D) coherent processing is inevitable in traditional methods. In this paper, a novel 2-D coherent integration processing and algorithm for aircraft target detection is proposed. For azimuth processing, a modified Radon Fourier Transform (RFT) with range-walk removal and Doppler rate estimation is performed. In respect to range compression, a modified matched filter with a shifting Doppler is applied. As a result, the signal will be accurately focused in the range-Doppler domain, and a sufficiently high SNR can be obtained for aircraft detection with a moving target detector. Numerical simulations demonstrate that the range-Doppler parameters of an aircraft target can be obtained, and the position and velocity of the aircraft can be estimated accurately by multiple observation geometries due to abundant GNSS resources. The experimental results also illustrate that the blind Doppler sidelobe is suppressed effectively and the proposed algorithm has a good performance even in the presence of Doppler ambiguity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Imaging Theory, Techniques, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle GRACE-Based Terrestrial Water Storage in Northwest China: Changes and Causes
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1163; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071163
Received: 10 June 2018 / Revised: 20 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Monitoring variations in terrestrial water storage (TWS) is of great significance for the management of water resources. However, it remains a challenge to continuously monitor TWS variations using in situ observations and hydrological models because of a limited number of gauge stations and
[...] Read more.
Monitoring variations in terrestrial water storage (TWS) is of great significance for the management of water resources. However, it remains a challenge to continuously monitor TWS variations using in situ observations and hydrological models because of a limited number of gauge stations and the complicated spatial distribution characteristics of TWS. In contrast, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) could overcome the aforementioned restrictions, providing a new reliable means of observing TWS variation. Thus, GRACE was employed to investigate TWS variations in Northwest China (NWC) between April 2002 and March 2016. Unlike previous studies, we focused on the interactions of multiple climatic and vegetational factors, and their combined effects on TWS variation. In addition, we also analyzed the relationship between TWS variations and socioeconomic water consumption. The results indicated that (i) TWS had obvious seasonal variations in NWC, and showed significant decreasing trends in most parts of NWC at the 95% confidence level; (ii) decreasing sunshine duration and wind speed resulted in an increase in TWS in Qinghai province, whereas the increasing air temperature, ameliorative vegetational coverage, and excessive groundwater withdrawal jointly led to a decrease in TWS in the other provinces of NWC; (iii) TWS variations in NWC had a good correlation with water storage variations in cascade reservoirs of the upper Yellow River; and (iv) the overall interactions between multiple climatic and vegetational factors were obvious, and the strong effects of some climatic and vegetational factors could mask the weak influences of other factors in TWS variations in NWC. Hence, it is necessary to focus on the interactions of multiple factors and their combined effects on TWS variations when exploring the causes of TWS variations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Observations, Modeling, and Impacts of Climate Extremes)
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Open AccessArticle Resolving Surface Displacements in Shenzhen of China from Time Series InSAR
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1162; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071162
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 15 July 2018 / Accepted: 22 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Over the past few decades, the coastal city of Shenzhen has been transformed from a small fishing village to a mega city as China’s first Special Economic Zone. The rapid economic development was matched by a sharp increase in the demand for usable
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Over the past few decades, the coastal city of Shenzhen has been transformed from a small fishing village to a mega city as China’s first Special Economic Zone. The rapid economic development was matched by a sharp increase in the demand for usable land and coastal reclamation has been undertaken to create new land from the sea. However, it has been reported that subsidence occurred in land reclamation area and around subway tunnel area. Subsidence and the additional threat of coastal inundation from sea-level rise highlight the necessity of displacement monitoring in Shenzhen. The time Series InSAR technique is capable of detecting sub-centimeter displacement of the Earth’s surface over large areas. This study uses Envisat, COSMO-SkyMed, and Sentinel-1 datasets to determine the surface movements in Shenzhen from 2004 to 2010 and from 2013 to 2017. Subsidence observed can be attributable to both land reclamation and subway construction. Seasonal displacements are likely to be associated with precipitation. The influence of ocean tidal level changes on seasonal displacement is not strongly evident from the results and requires further investigations. In general, InSAR has proven its ability to provide accurate measurements of ground stability for the city of Shenzhen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Interferometry for Geohazards)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Satellite-Based Soil Moisture Products over Four Different Continental In-Situ Measurements
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1161; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071161
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 24 June 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Global, near-real-time satellite-based soil moisture (SM) datasets have been developed over recent decades. However, there has been a lack of comparison among different passing times, retrieving algorithms, and sensors between SM products over various regions. In this study, we assessed seven types of
[...] Read more.
Global, near-real-time satellite-based soil moisture (SM) datasets have been developed over recent decades. However, there has been a lack of comparison among different passing times, retrieving algorithms, and sensors between SM products over various regions. In this study, we assessed seven types of SM products (AMSR_A, AMSR_D, ECV_A, ECV_C, ECV_P, SMOS_A, and SMOS_D) over four different continental in-situ networks in North America, the Tibetan Plateau, Western Europe, and Southeastern Australia. Bias, R, root mean square error (RMSE), unbiased root mean square difference (ubRMSD), anomalies, and anomalies R were calculated to explore the agreement between satellite-based SM and in-situ measurements. Taylor diagrams were drawn for an inter-comparison. The results showed that (1) ECV_C was superior both in characterizing the SM temporal variation tendency and absolute value, while ECV_A produced numerous abnormal values over all validation regions. ECV_P was able to basically express the SM variation tendency, except for a few overestimations and underestimations. (2) The ascending data (AMSR_A, SMOS_A) generally outperformed the corresponding descending data (AMSR_D, SMOS_D). (3) AMSR exceeded SMOS in terms of the coefficient of correlation. (4) The validation result of SMOS_D over the NAN and OZN networks was unsatisfactory, with a rather poor correlation for both original data and anomalies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology)
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Open AccessArticle Doppler Frequency Estimation of Point Targets in the Single-Channel SAR Image by Linear Least Squares
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071160
Received: 14 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
This paper presents a method and results for the estimation of residual Doppler frequency, and consequently the range velocity component of point targets in single-channel synthetic aperture radar (SAR) focused single-look complex (SLC) data. It is still a challenging task to precisely retrieve
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This paper presents a method and results for the estimation of residual Doppler frequency, and consequently the range velocity component of point targets in single-channel synthetic aperture radar (SAR) focused single-look complex (SLC) data. It is still a challenging task to precisely retrieve the radial velocity of small and slow-moving objects, which requires an approach providing precise estimates from only a limited number of samples within a few range bins. The proposed method utilizes linear least squares, along with the estimation of signal parameters via rotational invariance techniques (ESPRIT) algorithm, to provide optimum estimates from sets of azimuth subsamples that have different azimuth temporal distances. The ratio of estimated Doppler frequency to root-mean square error (RMSE) is suggested for determining a critical threshold, optimally selecting a number of azimuth subsample sets to be involved in the estimation. The proposed method was applied to TerraSAR-X and KOMPSAT-5 X-band SAR SLC data for on-land and coastal sea estimation, with speed-controlled, truck-mounted corner reflectors and ships, respectively. The results demonstrate its performance of the method, with percent errors of less than 5%, in retrieved range velocity for both on-land and in the sea. It is also robust, even for weak targets with low peak-to-sidelobe ratios (PSLRs) and signal-to-clutter ratios (RCSs). Since the characteristics of targets and clutter on land and in the sea are different, it is recommended that the method is applied separately with different thresholds. The limitations of the approach are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Interdependent Dynamics of LAI-Albedo across the Roofing Landscapes: Mongolian and Tibetan Plateaus
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071159
Received: 25 May 2018 / Revised: 17 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
The Mongolian Plateau (MP) and Tibetan Plateau (TP) have experienced higher-than-global average warming in recent decades, resulting in many significant changes in ecosystem structure and function. Among them are the leaf area index (LAI) and albedo, which play a fundamental role in understanding
[...] Read more.
The Mongolian Plateau (MP) and Tibetan Plateau (TP) have experienced higher-than-global average warming in recent decades, resulting in many significant changes in ecosystem structure and function. Among them are the leaf area index (LAI) and albedo, which play a fundamental role in understanding many causes and consequences of land surface processes and climate. Here, we focused on the spatiotemporal changes of LAI, albedo, and their spatiotemporal relationships on the two roofing landscapes in Eurasia. Based on the MODIS products, we investigated the spatiotemporal changes of albedo(VIS, NIR and SHO) and LAI from 2000 through 2016. We found that there existed a general negative logarithmic relationship between LAI and three measures of albedo on both plateaus. No significant relationship was found for LAI-albedoNIR on the TP, due to more complex land surface canopy characteristics affected by the NIR reflection there. During 2000–2016, overall, annual mean LAI increased significantly by 119.40 × 103 km2 on the MP and by 28.35 × 103 km2 on the TP, while the decreased areas for annual mean albedoVIS were 585.59 × 103 km2 and 235.73 × 103 km2 on the MP and TP, respectively. More importantly, the LAI-albedo relationships varied substantially across the space and over time, with mismatches found in some parts of the landscapes. Substantial additional efforts with observational and/or experimental investigations are needed to explore the underlying mechanisms responsible for these relationships, including the influences of vegetation characteristics and disturbances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Earth Radiation Budget)
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Open AccessArticle Dense Connectivity Based Two-Stream Deep Feature Fusion Framework for Aerial Scene Classification
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071158
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 23 July 2018
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Abstract
Aerial scene classification is an active and challenging problem in high-resolution remote sensing imagery understanding. Deep learning models, especially convolutional neural networks (CNNs), have achieved prominent performance in this field. The extraction of deep features from the layers of a CNN model is
[...] Read more.
Aerial scene classification is an active and challenging problem in high-resolution remote sensing imagery understanding. Deep learning models, especially convolutional neural networks (CNNs), have achieved prominent performance in this field. The extraction of deep features from the layers of a CNN model is widely used in these CNN-based methods. Although the CNN-based approaches have obtained great success, there is still plenty of room to further increase the classification accuracy. As a matter of fact, the fusion with other features has great potential for leading to the better performance of aerial scene classification. Therefore, we propose two effective architectures based on the idea of feature-level fusion. The first architecture, i.e., texture coded two-stream deep architecture, uses the raw RGB network stream and the mapped local binary patterns (LBP) coded network stream to extract two different sets of features and fuses them using a novel deep feature fusion model. In the second architecture, i.e., saliency coded two-stream deep architecture, we employ the saliency coded network stream as the second stream and fuse it with the raw RGB network stream using the same feature fusion model. For sake of validation and comparison, our proposed architectures are evaluated via comprehensive experiments with three publicly available remote sensing scene datasets. The classification accuracies of saliency coded two-stream architecture with our feature fusion model achieve 97.79%, 98.90%, 94.09%, 95.99%, 85.02%, and 87.01% on the UC-Merced dataset (50% and 80% training samples), the Aerial Image Dataset (AID) (20% and 50% training samples), and the NWPU-RESISC45 dataset (10% and 20% training samples), respectively, overwhelming state-of-the-art methods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Site-Specific Unmodeled Error Mitigation for GNSS Positioning in Urban Environments Using a Real-Time Adaptive Weighting Model
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071157
Received: 25 June 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 22 July 2018
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Abstract
In Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning, observation precisions are frequently impacted by the site-specific unmodeled errors, especially for the code observations that are widely used by smart phones and vehicles in urban environments. The site-specific unmodeled errors mainly refer to the multipath
[...] Read more.
In Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) positioning, observation precisions are frequently impacted by the site-specific unmodeled errors, especially for the code observations that are widely used by smart phones and vehicles in urban environments. The site-specific unmodeled errors mainly refer to the multipath and other space loss caused by the signal propagation (e.g., non-line-of-sight reception). As usual, the observation precisions are estimated by the weighting function in a stochastic model. Only once the realistic weighting function is applied can we obtain the precise positioning results. Unfortunately, the existing weighting schemes do not fully take these site-specific unmodeled effects into account. Specifically, the traditional weighting models indirectly and partly reflect, or even simply ignore, these unmodeled effects. In this paper, we propose a real-time adaptive weighting model to mitigate the site-specific unmodeled errors of code observations. This unmodeled-error-weighted model takes full advantages of satellite elevation angle and carrier-to-noise power density ratio (C/N0). In detail, elevation is taken as a fundamental part of the proposed model, then C/N0 is applied to estimate the precision of site-specific unmodeled errors. The principle of the second part is that the measured C/N0 will deviate from the nominal values when the signal distortions are severe. Specifically, the template functions of C/N0 and its precision, which can estimate the nominal values, are applied to adaptively adjust the precision of site-specific unmodeled errors. The proposed method is tested in single-point positioning (SPP) and code real-time differenced (RTD) positioning by static and kinematic datasets. Results indicate that the adaptive model is superior to the equal-weight, elevation and C/N0 models. Compared with these traditional approaches, the accuracy of SPP and RTD solutions are improved by 35.1% and 17.6% on average in the dense high-rise building group, as well as 11.4% and 11.9% on average in the urban-forested area. This demonstrates the benefit to code-based positioning brought by a real-time adaptive weighting model as it can mitigate the impacts of site-specific unmodeled errors and improve the positioning accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Research with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS))
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle Spectral-Spatial Classification of Hyperspectral Images: Three Tricks and a New Learning Setting
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1156; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071156
Received: 18 May 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
Spectral-spatial classification of hyperspectral images has been the subject of many studies in recent years. When there are only a few labeled pixels for training and a skewed class label distribution, this task becomes very challenging because of the increased risk of overfitting
[...] Read more.
Spectral-spatial classification of hyperspectral images has been the subject of many studies in recent years. When there are only a few labeled pixels for training and a skewed class label distribution, this task becomes very challenging because of the increased risk of overfitting when training a classifier. In this paper, we show that in this setting, a convolutional neural network with a single hidden layer can achieve state-of-the-art performance when three tricks are used: a spectral-locality-aware regularization term and smoothing- and label-based data augmentation. The shallow network architecture prevents overfitting in the presence of many features and few training samples. The locality-aware regularization forces neighboring wavelengths to have similar contributions to the features generated during training. The new data augmentation procedure favors the selection of pixels in smaller classes, which is beneficial for skewed class label distributions. The accuracy of the proposed method is assessed on five publicly available hyperspectral images, where it achieves state-of-the-art results. As other spectral-spatial classification methods, we use the entire image (labeled and unlabeled pixels) to infer the class of its unlabeled pixels. To investigate the positive bias induced by the use of the entire image, we propose a new learning setting where unlabeled pixels are not used for building the classifier. Results show the beneficial effect of the proposed tricks also in this setting and substantiate the advantages of using labeled and unlabeled pixels from the image for hyperspectral image classification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing Image Processing)
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Open AccessArticle TerraSAR-X Time Series Fill a Gap in Spaceborne Snowmelt Monitoring of Small Arctic Catchments—A Case Study on Qikiqtaruk (Herschel Island), Canada
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071155
Received: 4 June 2018 / Revised: 14 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
The timing of snowmelt is an important turning point in the seasonal cycle of small Arctic catchments. The TerraSAR-X (TSX) satellite mission is a synthetic aperture radar system (SAR) with high potential to measure the high spatiotemporal variability of snow cover extent (SCE)
[...] Read more.
The timing of snowmelt is an important turning point in the seasonal cycle of small Arctic catchments. The TerraSAR-X (TSX) satellite mission is a synthetic aperture radar system (SAR) with high potential to measure the high spatiotemporal variability of snow cover extent (SCE) and fractional snow cover (FSC) on the small catchment scale. We investigate the performance of multi-polarized and multi-pass TSX X-Band SAR data in monitoring SCE and FSC in small Arctic tundra catchments of Qikiqtaruk (Herschel Island) off the Yukon Coast in the Western Canadian Arctic. We applied a threshold based segmentation on ratio images between TSX images with wet snow and a dry snow reference, and tested the performance of two different thresholds. We quantitatively compared TSX- and Landsat 8-derived SCE maps using confusion matrices and analyzed the spatiotemporal dynamics of snowmelt from 2015 to 2017 using TSX, Landsat 8 and in situ time lapse data. Our data showed that the quality of SCE maps from TSX X-Band data is strongly influenced by polarization and to a lesser degree by incidence angle. VH polarized TSX data performed best in deriving SCE when compared to Landsat 8. TSX derived SCE maps from VH polarization detected late lying snow patches that were not detected by Landsat 8. Results of a local assessment of TSX FSC against the in situ data showed that TSX FSC accurately captured the temporal dynamics of different snow melt regimes that were related to topographic characteristics of the studied catchments. Both in situ and TSX FSC showed a longer snowmelt period in a catchment with higher contributions of steep valleys and a shorter snowmelt period in a catchment with higher contributions of upland terrain. Landsat 8 had fundamental data gaps during the snowmelt period in all 3 years due to cloud cover. The results also revealed that by choosing a positive threshold of 1 dB, detection of ice layers due to diurnal temperature variations resulted in a more accurate estimation of snow cover than a negative threshold that detects wet snow alone. We find that TSX X-Band data in VH polarization performs at a comparable quality to Landsat 8 in deriving SCE maps when a positive threshold is used. We conclude that TSX data polarization can be used to accurately monitor snowmelt events at high temporal and spatial resolution, overcoming limitations of Landsat 8, which due to cloud related data gaps generally only indicated the onset and end of snowmelt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ten Years of TerraSAR-X—Scientific Results)
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Open AccessArticle SfM-Based Method to Assess Gorgonian Forests (Paramuricea clavata (Cnidaria, Octocorallia))
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071154
Received: 21 June 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
Animal forests promote marine habitats morphological complexity and functioning. The red gorgonian, Paramuricea clavata, is a key structuring species of the Mediterranean coralligenous habitat and an indicator species of climate effects on habitat functioning. P. clavata metrics such as population structure, morphology
[...] Read more.
Animal forests promote marine habitats morphological complexity and functioning. The red gorgonian, Paramuricea clavata, is a key structuring species of the Mediterranean coralligenous habitat and an indicator species of climate effects on habitat functioning. P. clavata metrics such as population structure, morphology and biomass inform on the overall health of coralligenous habitats, but the estimation of these metrics is time and cost consuming, and often requires destructive sampling. As a consequence, the implementation of long-term and wide-area monitoring programmes is limited. This study proposes a novel and transferable Structure from Motion (SfM) based method for the estimation of gorgonian population structure (i.e., maximal height, density, abundance), morphometries (i.e., maximal width, fan surface) and biomass (i.e., coenenchymal Dry Weight, Ash Free Dried Weight). The method includes the estimation of a novel metric (3D canopy surface) describing the gorgonian forest as a mosaic of planes generated by fitting multiple 5 cm × 5 cm facets to a SfM generated point cloud. The performance of the method is assessed for two different cameras (GoPro Hero4 and Sony NEX7). Results showed that for highly dense populations (17 colonies/m2), the SfM-method had lower accuracies in estimating the gorgonians density for both cameras (60% to 89%) than for medium to low density populations (14 and 7 colonies/m2) (71% to 100%). Results for the validation of the method showed that the correlation between ground truth and SfM estimates for maximal height, maximal width and fan surface were between R2 = 0.63 and R2 = 0.9, and R2 = 0.99 for coenenchymal surface estimation. The methodological approach was used to estimate the biomass of the gorgonian population within the study area and across the coralligenous habitat between −25 to −40 m depth in the Portofino Marine Protected Area. For that purpose, the coenenchymal surface of sampled colonies was obtained and used for the calculations. Results showed biomass values of dry weight and ash free dry weight of 220 g and 32 g for the studied area and to 365 kg and 55 Kg for the coralligenous habitat in the Marine Protected Area. This study highlighted the feasibility of the methodology for the quantification of P. clavata metrics as well as the potential of the SfM-method to improve current predictions of the status of the coralligenous habitat in the Mediterranean sea and overall management of threatened ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessTechnical Note Estimation of Gap Fraction and Foliage Clumping in Forest Canopies
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1153; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071153
Received: 14 May 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
The gap fractions of three mature hemi-boreal forest stands in Estonia were estimated using the LAI-2000 plant canopy analyzer ( LI-COR Biosciences, Lincoln, NE, USA), the TRAC instrument (Edgewall, Miami, FL, USA), Cajanus’ tube, hemispherical photos, as well as terrestrial (TLS) and airborne
[...] Read more.
The gap fractions of three mature hemi-boreal forest stands in Estonia were estimated using the LAI-2000 plant canopy analyzer ( LI-COR Biosciences, Lincoln, NE, USA), the TRAC instrument (Edgewall, Miami, FL, USA), Cajanus’ tube, hemispherical photos, as well as terrestrial (TLS) and airborne (ALS) laser scanners. ALS measurements with an 8-year interval confirmed that changes in the structure of mature forest stands are slow, and that measurements in the same season of different years should be well comparable. Gap fraction estimates varied considerably depending on the instruments and methods used. None of the methods considered for the estimation of gap fraction of forest canopies proved superior to others. The increasing spatial resolution of new ALS devices allows the canopy structure to be analyzed in more detail than was possible before. The high vertical resolution of point clouds improves the possibility of estimating the stand height, crown length, and clumping of foliage in the canopy. The clumping/regularity of the foliage in a forest canopy is correlated with tree height, crown length, and basal area. The method suggested herein for the estimation of foliage clumping allows the leaf area estimates of forest canopies to be improved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Remote Sensing of Boreal Forests)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Sentinel-1 InSAR Measurements of Elevation Changes over Yedoma Uplands on Sobo-Sise Island, Lena Delta
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071152
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 15 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract
Yedoma—extremely ice-rich permafrost with massive ice wedges formed during the Late Pleistocene—is vulnerable to thawing and degradation under climate warming. Thawing of ice-rich Yedoma results in lowering of surface elevations. Quantitative knowledge about surface elevation changes helps us to understand the freeze-thaw processes
[...] Read more.
Yedoma—extremely ice-rich permafrost with massive ice wedges formed during the Late Pleistocene—is vulnerable to thawing and degradation under climate warming. Thawing of ice-rich Yedoma results in lowering of surface elevations. Quantitative knowledge about surface elevation changes helps us to understand the freeze-thaw processes of the active layer and the potential degradation of Yedoma deposits. In this study, we use C-band Sentinel-1 InSAR measurements to map the elevation changes over ice-rich Yedoma uplands on Sobo-Sise Island, Lena Delta with frequent revisit observations (as short as six or 12 days). We observe significant seasonal thaw subsidence during summer months and heterogeneous inter-annual elevation changes from 2016–17. We also observe interesting patterns of stronger seasonal thaw subsidence on elevated flat Yedoma uplands by comparing to the surrounding Yedoma slopes. Inter-annual analyses from 2016–17 suggest that our observed positive surface elevation changes are likely caused by the delayed progression of the thaw season in 2017, associated with mean annual air temperature fluctuations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Dynamic Permafrost Regions)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle Aboveground Forest Biomass Estimation Combining L- and P-Band SAR Acquisitions
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071151
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
While considerable research has focused on using either L-band or P-band SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) on their own for forest biomass retrieval, the use of the two bands simultaneously to improve forest biomass retrieval remains less explored. In this paper, we make use
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While considerable research has focused on using either L-band or P-band SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) on their own for forest biomass retrieval, the use of the two bands simultaneously to improve forest biomass retrieval remains less explored. In this paper, we make use of L- and P-band airborne SAR and in situ data measured in the field together with laser scanning data acquired over one hemi-boreal (Remningstorp) and one boreal (Krycklan) forest study area in Sweden. We fit statistical models to different combinations of topographic-corrected SAR backscatter and forest heights estimated from PolInSAR for the biomass estimation, and evaluate retrieval performance in terms of R2 and using 10-fold cross-validation. The study shows that specific combinations of radar observables from L- and P-band lead to biomass predictions that are more accurate in comparison with single-band retrievals. The correlations and accuracies between the combinations of SAR features and aboveground biomass are consistent across the two study areas, whereas the retrieval performance varied for individual bands. P-band-based retrievals were more accurate than L-band for the hemi-boreal Remningstorp site and less accurate than L-band for the boreal Krycklan site. The aboveground biomass levels as well as the ground topography differ between the two sites. The results suggest that P-band is more sensitive to higher biomass and L-band to lower biomass forests. The forest height from PolInSAR improved the results at L-band in the higher biomass substantially, whereas no improvement was observed at P-band in both study areas. These results are relevant in the context of combining information over boreal forests from future low-frequency SAR missions such as the European Space Agency (ESA) BIOMASS mission, which will operate at P-band, and future L-band missions planned by several space agencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessTechnical Note How Well Can Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Capture Hurricanes? Case Study: Hurricane Harvey
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071150
Received: 12 June 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Hurricanes and other severe coastal storms have become more frequent and destructive during recent years. Hurricane Harvey, one of the most extreme events in recent history, advanced as a category IV storm and brought devastating rainfall to the Houston, TX, region during 25–29
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Hurricanes and other severe coastal storms have become more frequent and destructive during recent years. Hurricane Harvey, one of the most extreme events in recent history, advanced as a category IV storm and brought devastating rainfall to the Houston, TX, region during 25–29 August 2017. It inflicted damage of more than $125 billion to the state of Texas infrastructure and caused multiple fatalities in a very short period of time. Rainfall totals from Harvey during the 5-day period were among the highest ever recorded in the United States. Study of this historical devastating event can lead to better preparation and effective reduction of far-reaching consequences of similar events. Precipitation products based on satellites observations can provide valuable information needed to understand the evolution of such devastating storms. In this study, the ability of recent Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for Global Precipitation Mission (GPM-IMERG) final-run product to capture the magnitudes and spatial (0.1° × 0.1°)/temporal (hourly) patterns of rainfall resulting from hurricane Harvey was evaluated. Hourly gridded rainfall estimates by ground radar (4 × 4 km) were used as a reference dataset. Basic and probabilistic statistical indices of the satellite rainfall products were examined. The results indicated that the performance of IMERG product was satisfactory in detecting the spatial variability of the storm. It reconstructed precipitation with nearly 62% accuracy, although it systematically under-represented rainfall in coastal areas and over-represented rainfall over the high-intensity regions. Moreover, while the correlation between IMERG and radar products was generally high, it decreased significantly at and around the storm core. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Precipitation)
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Open AccessArticle Intercomparison of Three Two-Source Energy Balance Models for Partitioning Evaporation and Transpiration in Semiarid Climates
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071149
Received: 10 May 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Evaporation (E) and transpiration (T) information is crucial for precise water resources planning and management in arid and semiarid areas. Two-source energy balance (TSEB) methods based on remotely-sensed land surface temperature provide an important modeling approach for estimating evapotranspiration (ET) and its components
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Evaporation (E) and transpiration (T) information is crucial for precise water resources planning and management in arid and semiarid areas. Two-source energy balance (TSEB) methods based on remotely-sensed land surface temperature provide an important modeling approach for estimating evapotranspiration (ET) and its components of E and T. Approaches for accurate decomposition of the component temperature and E/T partitioning from ET based on TSEB requires careful investigation. In this study, three TSEB models are used: (i) the TSEB model with the Priestley-Taylor equation, i.e., TSEB-PT; (ii) the TSEB model using the Penman-Monteith equation, i.e., TSEB-PM, and (iii) the TSEB using component temperatures derived from vegetation fractional cover and land surface temperature (VFC/LST) space, i.e., TSEB-TC-TS. These models are employed to investigate the impact of component temperature decomposition on E/T partitioning accuracy. Validation was conducted in the large-scale campaign of Heihe Watershed Allied Telemetry Experimental Research-Multi-Scale Observation Experiment on Evapotranspiration (HiWATER-MUSOEXE) in the northwest of China, and results showed that root mean square errors (RMSEs) of latent and sensible heat fluxes were respectively lower than 76 W/m2 and 50 W/m2 for all three approaches. Based on the measurements from the stable oxygen and hydrogen isotopes system at the Daman superstation, it was found that all three models slightly overestimated the ratio of E/ET. In addition, discrepancies in E/T partitioning among the three models were observed in the kernel experimental area of MUSOEXE. Further intercomparison indicated that different temperature decomposition methods were responsible for the observed discrepancies in E/T partitioning. The iterative procedure adopted by TSEB-PT and TSEB-PM produced higher LEC and lower TC when compared to TSEB-TC-TS. Overall, this work provides valuable insights into understanding the performances of TSEB models with different temperature decomposition mechanisms over semiarid regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Evapotranspiration (ET))
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Open AccessArticle Large-Scale Accurate Reconstruction of Buildings Employing Point Clouds Generated from UAV Imagery
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1148; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071148
Received: 27 May 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
High-density point clouds are valuable and detailed sources of data for different processes related to photogrammetry. We explore the knowledge-based generation of accurate large-scale three-dimensional (3D) models of buildings employing point clouds derived from UAV-based photogrammetry. A new two-level segmentation approach based on
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High-density point clouds are valuable and detailed sources of data for different processes related to photogrammetry. We explore the knowledge-based generation of accurate large-scale three-dimensional (3D) models of buildings employing point clouds derived from UAV-based photogrammetry. A new two-level segmentation approach based on efficient RANdom SAmple Consensus (RANSAC) shape detection is developed to segment potential facades and roofs of the buildings and extract their footprints. In the first level, the cylinder primitive is implemented to trim point clouds and split buildings, and the second level of the segmentation produces planar segments. The efficient RANSAC algorithm is enhanced in sizing up the segments via point-based analyses for both levels of segmentation. Then, planar modelling is carried out employing contextual knowledge through a new constrained least squares method. New evaluation criteria are proposed based on conceptual knowledge. They can examine the abilities of the approach in reconstruction of footprints, 3D models, and planar segments in addition to detection of over/under segmentation. Evaluation of the 3D models proves that the geometrical accuracy of LoD3 is achieved, since the average horizontal and vertical accuracy of the reconstructed vertices of roofs and footprints are better than (0.24, 0.23) m, (0.19, 0.17) m for the first dataset, and (0.35, 0.37) m, (0.28, 0.24) m for the second dataset. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Radiation Component Calculation and Energy Budget Analysis for the Korean Peninsula Region
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071147
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 19 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
In this study, a radiation component calculation algorithm was developed using channel data from the Himawari-8 Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) and meteorological data from the Unified Model (UM) Local Data Assimilation and Prediction System (LDAPS). In addition, the energy budget of the Korean
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In this study, a radiation component calculation algorithm was developed using channel data from the Himawari-8 Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) and meteorological data from the Unified Model (UM) Local Data Assimilation and Prediction System (LDAPS). In addition, the energy budget of the Korean Peninsula region in 2016 was calculated and its regional differences were analyzed. Radiation components derived using the algorithm were calibrated using the broadband radiation component data from the Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) to improve their accuracy. The calculated radiation components and the CERES data showed an annual mean percent bias of less than 3.5% and a high correlation coefficient of over 0.98. The energy budget of the Korean Peninsula region was −2.4 Wm−2 at the top of the atmosphere (RT), −14.5 Wm−2 at the surface (RS), and 12.1 Wm−2 in the atmosphere (RA), with regional energy budget differences. The Seoul region had a high surface temperature (289.5 K) and a RS of −33.4 Wm−2 (surface emission), whereas the Sokcho region had a low surface temperature (284.7 K) and a RS of 5.0 Wm−2 (surface absorption), for a difference of 38.5 Wm−2. In short, regions with relatively high surface temperatures tended to show energy emission, and regions with relatively low surface temperatures tended to show energy absorption. Such regional energy imbalances can cause weather and climate changes and bring about meteorological disasters, and thus research on detecting energy budget changes must be continued. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Earth Radiation Budget)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Subsidence Evolution of the Firenze–Prato–Pistoia Plain (Central Italy) Combining PSI and GNSS Data
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1146; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071146
Received: 1 June 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
Subsidence phenomena, as well as landslides and floods, are one of the main geohazards affecting the Tuscany region (central Italy). The monitoring of related ground deformations plays a key role in their management to avoid problems for buildings and infrastructure. In this scenario,
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Subsidence phenomena, as well as landslides and floods, are one of the main geohazards affecting the Tuscany region (central Italy). The monitoring of related ground deformations plays a key role in their management to avoid problems for buildings and infrastructure. In this scenario, Earth observation offers a better solution in terms of costs and benefits than traditional techniques (e.g., GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) or levelling networks), especially for wide area applications. In this work, the subsidence-related ground motions in the Firenze–Prato–Pistoia plain were back-investigated to track the evolution of displacement from 2003 to 2017 by means of multi-interferometric analysis of ENVISAT and Sentinel-1 imagery combined with GNSS data. The resulting vertical deformation velocities are aligned to the European Terrestrial Reference System 89 (ETRS89) datum and can be considered real velocity of displacement. The vertical ground deformation maps derived by ENVISAT and Sentinel-1 data, corrected with the GNSS, show how the area affected by subsidence for the period 2003–2010 and the period 2014–2017 evolved. The differences between the two datasets in terms of the extension and velocity values were analysed and then associated with the geological setting of the basin and external factors, e.g., new greenhouses and nurseries. This analysis allowed for reconstructing the evolution of the subsidence for the area of interest showing an increment of ground deformation in the historic centre of Pistoia Town, a decrement of subsidence in the nursery area between Pistoia and Prato cities, and changes in the industrial sector close to Prato. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Interferometry for Geohazards)
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Open AccessArticle Supervised Classification of Built-Up Areas in Sub-Saharan African Cities Using Landsat Imagery and OpenStreetMap
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071145
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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The Landsat archives have been made freely available in 2008, allowing the production of high resolution built-up maps at the regional or global scale. In this context, most of the classification algorithms rely on supervised learning to tackle the heterogeneity of the urban
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The Landsat archives have been made freely available in 2008, allowing the production of high resolution built-up maps at the regional or global scale. In this context, most of the classification algorithms rely on supervised learning to tackle the heterogeneity of the urban environments. However, at a large scale, the process of collecting training samples becomes a huge project in itself. This leads to a growing interest from the remote sensing community toward Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) projects such as OpenStreetMap (OSM). Despite the spatial heterogeneity of its contribution patterns, OSM provides an increasing amount of information on the earth’s surface. More interestingly, the community has moved beyond street mapping to collect a wider range of spatial data such as building footprints, land use, or points of interest. In this paper, we propose a classification method that makes use of OSM to automatically collect training samples for supervised learning of built-up areas. To take into account a wide range of potential issues, the approach is assessed in ten Sub-Saharan African urban areas from various demographic profiles and climates. The obtained results are compared with: (1) existing high resolution global urban maps such as the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) or the Human Built-up and Settlements Extent (HBASE); and (2) a supervised classification based on manually digitized training samples. The results suggest that automated supervised classifications based on OSM can provide performances similar to manual approaches, provided that OSM training samples are sufficiently available and correctly pre-processed. Moreover, the proposed method could reach better results in the near future, given the increasing amount and variety of information in the OSM database. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Citizen Science and Earth Observation II)
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Open AccessArticle Multitemporal Classification of River Floodplain Vegetation Using Time Series of UAV Images
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1144; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071144
Received: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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The functions of river floodplains often conflict spatially, for example, water conveyance during peak discharge and diverse riparian ecology. Such functions are often associated with floodplain vegetation. Frequent monitoring of floodplain land cover is necessary to capture the dynamics of this vegetation. However,
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The functions of river floodplains often conflict spatially, for example, water conveyance during peak discharge and diverse riparian ecology. Such functions are often associated with floodplain vegetation. Frequent monitoring of floodplain land cover is necessary to capture the dynamics of this vegetation. However, low classification accuracies are found with existing methods, especially for relatively similar vegetation types, such as grassland and herbaceous vegetation. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery has great potential to improve the classification of these vegetation types owing to its high spatial resolution and flexibility in image acquisition timing. This study aimed to evaluate the increase in classification accuracy obtained using multitemporal UAV images versus single time step data on floodplain land cover classification and to assess the effect of varying the number and timing of imagery acquisition moments. We obtained a dataset of multitemporal UAV imagery and field reference observations and applied object-based Random Forest classification (RF) to data of different time step combinations. High overall accuracies (OA) exceeding 90% were found for the RF of floodplain land cover, with six vegetation classes and four non-vegetation classes. Using two or more time steps compared with a single time step increased the OA from 96.9% to 99.3%. The user’s accuracies of the classes with large similarity, such as natural grassland and herbaceous vegetation, also exceeded 90%. The combination of imagery from June and September resulted in the highest OA (98%) for two time steps. Our method is a practical and highly accurate solution for monitoring areas of a few square kilometres. For large-scale monitoring of floodplains, the same method can be used, but with data from airborne platforms covering larger extents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Open AccessArticle Variations in Remotely-Sensed Phytoplankton Size Structure of a Cyclonic Eddy in the Southwest Indian Ocean
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1143; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071143
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 1 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 June 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
Phytoplankton size classes were derived from weekly-averaged MODIS Aqua chlorophyll a data over the southwest Indian Ocean in order to assess changes in surface phytoplankton community structure within a cyclonic eddy as it propagated across the Mozambique Basin in 2013. Satellite altimetry was
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Phytoplankton size classes were derived from weekly-averaged MODIS Aqua chlorophyll a data over the southwest Indian Ocean in order to assess changes in surface phytoplankton community structure within a cyclonic eddy as it propagated across the Mozambique Basin in 2013. Satellite altimetry was used to identify and track the southwesterly movement of the eddy from its origin off Madagascar in mid-June until mid-October, when it eventually merged with the Agulhas Current along the east coast of South Africa. Nano- and picophytoplankton comprised most of the community in the early phase of the eddy development in June, but nanophytoplankton then dominated in austral winter (July and August). Microphytoplankton was entrained into the eddy by horizontal advection from the southern Madagascar shelf, increasing the proportion of microphytoplankton to 23% when the chlorophyll a levels reached a peak of 0.36 mg·m−3 in the third week of July. Chlorophyll a levels declined to <0.2 mg·m−3 in austral spring (September and October) as the eddy propagated further to the southwest. Picophytoplankton dominated the community during the spring period, accounting for >50% of the population. As far as is known, this is the first study to investigate temporal changes in chlorophyll a and community structure in a cyclonic eddy propagating across an ocean basin in the southwest Indian Ocean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Ocean Colour)
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Open AccessArticle Improving Spatial-Temporal Data Fusion by Choosing Optimal Input Image Pairs
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071142
Received: 27 May 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
Spatial and temporal data fusion approaches have been developed to fuse reflectance imagery from Landsat and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), which have complementary spatial and temporal sampling characteristics. The approach relies on using Landsat and MODIS image pairs that are acquired
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Spatial and temporal data fusion approaches have been developed to fuse reflectance imagery from Landsat and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), which have complementary spatial and temporal sampling characteristics. The approach relies on using Landsat and MODIS image pairs that are acquired on the same day to estimate Landsat-scale reflectance on other MODIS dates. Previous studies have revealed that the accuracy of data fusion results partially depends on the input image pair used. The selection of the optimal image pair to achieve better prediction of surface reflectance has not been fully evaluated. This paper assesses the impacts of Landsat-MODIS image pair selection on the accuracy of the predicted land surface reflectance using the Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Fusion Model (STARFM) over different landscapes. MODIS images from the Aqua and Terra platforms were paired with images from the Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) and Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) to make different pair image combinations. The accuracy of the predicted surface reflectance at 30 m resolution was evaluated using the observed Landsat data in terms of mean absolute difference, root mean square error and correlation coefficient. Results show that the MODIS pair images with smaller view zenith angles produce better predictions. As expected, the image pair closer to the prediction date during a short prediction period produce better prediction results. For prediction dates distant from the pair date, the predictability depends on the temporal and spatial variability of land cover type and phenology. The prediction accuracy for forests is higher than for crops in our study areas. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for crops is overestimated during the non-growing season when using an input image pair from the growing season, while NDVI is slightly underestimated during the growing season when using an image pair from the non-growing season. Two automatic pair selection strategies are evaluated. Results show that the strategy of selecting the MODIS pair date image that most highly correlates with the MODIS image on the prediction date produces more accurate predictions than the nearest date strategy. This study demonstrates that data fusion results can be improved if appropriate image pairs are used. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Benefit of the Geospatial-Related Waveforms Analysis to Extract Weak Laser Pulses
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071141
Received: 18 May 2018 / Revised: 15 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Waveform lidar provides both geometric and waveform properties from the entire returned signals. The waveform analysis is an important process to extract the attributes of the reflecting surface from the waveform. The proposed method analyzes the geospatial relationship between the return signals by
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Waveform lidar provides both geometric and waveform properties from the entire returned signals. The waveform analysis is an important process to extract the attributes of the reflecting surface from the waveform. The proposed method analyzes the geospatial relationship between the return signals by combining the sequential waves. The idea of this method is to analyze the waveform parameters from sequential waves. Since the adjacent return signals are geospatially correlated, they have similar waveform properties that can be used to validate the correctness of the extracted waveform parameters. The proposed method includes three major steps: (1) single-waveform processing for the initial echo detection; (2) multi-waveform processing using waveform alignment and stacking; (3) verification of the enhanced weak return. The experimental waveform lidar data were acquired using Leica ALS60, Optech Pegasus, and Riegl Q680i. The experimental result indicates that the proposed method successfully extracts the weak returns while considering the geospatial relationships. The correctness and increasing rate of the extracted ground points are related to the vegetated coverage such as the complexity and density. The correctness is above 76% in this study. Because the nearest waveform has a higher correlation, the increase in distance of adjacent waveforms will reduce the correctness of the enhanced weak return. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Trends and Applications for Airborne Laser Scanning)
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Open AccessArticle Detecting and Quantifying a Massive Invasion of Floating Aquatic Plants in the Río de la Plata Turbid Waters Using High Spatial Resolution Ocean Color Imagery
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1140; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071140
Received: 20 May 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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Abstract
The massive development of floating plants in floodplain lakes and wetlands in the upper Middle Paraná river in the La Plata basin is environmentally and socioeconomically important. Every year aquatic plant detachments drift downstream arriving in small amounts to the Río de la
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The massive development of floating plants in floodplain lakes and wetlands in the upper Middle Paraná river in the La Plata basin is environmentally and socioeconomically important. Every year aquatic plant detachments drift downstream arriving in small amounts to the Río de la Plata, but huge temporary invasions have been observed every 10 or 15 years associated to massive floods. From late December 2015, heavy rains driven by a strong El Niño increased river levels, provoking a large temporary invasion of aquatic plants from January to May 2016. This event caused significant disruption of human activities via clogging of drinking water intakes in the estuary, blocking of ports and marinas and introducing dangerous animals from faraway wetlands into the city. In this study, we developed a scheme to map floating vegetation in turbid waters using high-resolution imagery, like Sentinel-2/SMI (MultiSpectral Imager), Landsat-8/OLI (Operational Land Imager), and Aqua/MODIS (MODerate resolution Imager Spectroradiometer)-250 m. A combination of the Floating Algal Index (that make use of the strong signal in the NIR part of the spectrum), plus conditions set on the RED band (to avoid misclassifying highly turbid waters) and on the CIE La*b* color space coordinates (to confirm the visually “green” pixels as floating vegetation) were used. A time-series of multisensor high resolution imagery was analyzed to study the temporal variability, covered area and distribution of the unusual floating macroalgae invasion that started in January 2016 in the Río de la Plata estuary. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Airborne Optical and Thermal Imagery for Detection of Water Stress Symptoms
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1139; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071139
Received: 13 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
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High-resolution airborne thermal infrared (TIR) together with sun-induced fluorescence (SIF) and hyperspectral optical images (visible, near- and shortwave infrared; VNIR/SWIR) were jointly acquired over an experimental site. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of these state-of-the-art remote sensing techniques
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High-resolution airborne thermal infrared (TIR) together with sun-induced fluorescence (SIF) and hyperspectral optical images (visible, near- and shortwave infrared; VNIR/SWIR) were jointly acquired over an experimental site. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of these state-of-the-art remote sensing techniques for detecting symptoms similar to those occurring during water stress (hereinafter referred to as ‘water stress symptoms’) at airborne level. Flights with two camera systems (Telops Hyper-Cam LW, Specim HyPlant) took place during 11th and 12th June 2014 in Latisana, Italy over a commercial grass (Festuca arundinacea and Poa pratense) farm with plots that were treated with an anti-transpirant agent (Vapor Gard®; VG) and a highly reflective powder (kaolin; KA). Both agents affect energy balance of the vegetation by reducing transpiration and thus reducing latent heat dissipation (VG) and by increasing albedo, i.e., decreasing energy absorption (KA). Concurrent in situ meteorological data from an on-site weather station, surface temperature and chamber flux measurements were obtained. Image data were processed to orthorectified maps of TIR indices (surface temperature (Ts), Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI)), SIF indices (F687, F780) and VNIR/SWIR indices (photochemical reflectance index (PRI), normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI), moisture stress index (MSI), etc.). A linear mixed effects model that respects the nested structure of the experimental setup was employed to analyse treatment effects on the remote sensing parameters. Airborne Ts were in good agreement (∆T < 0.35 K) compared to in situ Ts measurements. Maps and boxplots of TIR-based indices show diurnal changes: Ts was lowest in the early morning, increased by 6 K up to late morning as a consequence of increasing net radiation and air temperature (Tair) and remained stable towards noon due to the compensatory cooling effect of increased plant transpiration; this was also confirmed by the chamber measurements. In the early morning, VG treated plots revealed significantly higher Ts compared to control (CR) plots (p = 0.01), while SIF indices showed no significant difference (p = 1.00) at any of the overpasses. A comparative assessment of the spectral domains regarding their capabilities for water stress detection was limited due to: (i) synchronously overpasses of the two airborne sensors were not feasible, and (ii) instead of a real water stress occurrence only water stress symptoms were simulated by the chemical agents. Nevertheless, the results of the study show that the polymer di-1-p-menthene had an anti-transpiring effect on the plant while photosynthetic efficiency of light reactions remained unaffected. VNIR/SWIR indices as well as SIF indices were highly sensitive to KA, because of an overall increase in spectral reflectance and thus a reduced absorbed energy. On the contrary, the TIR domain was highly sensitive to subtle changes in the temperature regime as induced by VG and KA, whereas VNIR/SWIR and SIF domain were less affected by VG treatment. The benefit of a multi-sensor approach is not only to provide useful information about actual plant status but also on the causes of biophysical, physiological and photochemical changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Crop Parameters Estimation Using Images from UAV-Mounted Snapshot Hyperspectral Sensor and High-Definition Digital Camera
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1138; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071138
Received: 30 May 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 9 July 2018 / Published: 18 July 2018
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Abstract
Timely and accurate estimates of crop parameters are crucial for agriculture management. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) carrying sophisticated cameras are very pertinent for this work because they can obtain remote-sensing images with higher temporal, spatial, and ground resolution than satellites. In this study,
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Timely and accurate estimates of crop parameters are crucial for agriculture management. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) carrying sophisticated cameras are very pertinent for this work because they can obtain remote-sensing images with higher temporal, spatial, and ground resolution than satellites. In this study, we evaluated (i) the performance of crop parameters estimates using a near-surface spectroscopy (350~2500 nm, 3 nm at 700 nm, 8.5 nm at 1400 nm, 6.5 nm at 2100 nm), a UAV-mounted snapshot hyperspectral sensor (450~950 nm, 8 nm at 532 nm) and a high-definition digital camera (Visible, R, G, B); (ii) the crop surface models (CSMs), RGB-based vegetation indices (VIs), hyperspectral-based VIs, and methods combined therefrom to make multi-temporal estimates of crop parameters and to map the parameters. The estimated leaf area index (LAI) and above-ground biomass (AGB) are obtained by using linear and exponential equations, random forest (RF) regression, and partial least squares regression (PLSR) to combine the UAV based spectral VIs and crop heights (from the CSMs). The results show that: (i) spectral VIs correlate strongly with LAI and AGB over single growing stages when crop height correlates positively with AGB over multiple growth stages; (ii) the correlation between the VIs multiplying crop height and AGB is greater than that between a single VI and crop height; (iii) the AGB estimate from the UAV-mounted snapshot hyperspectral sensor and high-definition digital camera is similar to the results from the ground spectrometer when using the combined methods (i.e., using VIs multiplying crop height, RF and PLSR to combine VIs and crop heights); and (iv) the spectral performance of the sensors is crucial in LAI estimates (the wheat LAI cannot be accurately estimated over multiple growing stages when using only crop height). The LAI estimates ranked from best to worst are ground spectrometer, UAV snapshot hyperspectral sensor, and UAV high-definition digital camera. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Imaging Multi-Age Construction Settlement Behaviour by Advanced SAR Interferometry
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1137; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071137
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 11 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 18 July 2018
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This paper focuses on the application of Advanced Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (A-DInSAR) to subsidence-related issues, with particular reference to ground settlements due to external loads. Beyond the stratigraphic setting and the geotechnical properties of the subsoil, other relevant boundary conditions strongly
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This paper focuses on the application of Advanced Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (A-DInSAR) to subsidence-related issues, with particular reference to ground settlements due to external loads. Beyond the stratigraphic setting and the geotechnical properties of the subsoil, other relevant boundary conditions strongly influence the reliability of remotely sensed data for quantitative analyses and risk mitigation purposes. Because most of the Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PSI) measurement points (Persistent Scatterers, PSs) lie on structures and infrastructures, the foundation type and the age of a construction are key factors for a proper interpretation of the time series of ground displacements. To exemplify a methodological approach to evaluate these issues, this paper refers to an analysis carried out in the coastal/deltaic plain west of Rome (Rome and Fiumicino municipalities) affected by subsidence and related damages to structures. This region is characterized by a complex geological setting (alternation of recent deposits with low and high compressibilities) and has been subjected to different urbanisation phases starting in the late 1800s, with a strong acceleration in the last few decades. The results of A-DInSAR analyses conducted from 1992 to 2015 have been interpreted in light of high-resolution geological/geotechnical models, the age of the construction, and the types of foundations of the buildings on which the PSs are located. Collection, interpretation, and processing of geo-thematic data were fundamental to obtain high-resolution models; change detection analyses of the land cover allowed us to classify structures/infrastructures in terms of the construction period. Additional information was collected to define the types of foundations, i.e., shallow versus deep foundations. As a result, we found that only by filtering and partitioning the A-DInSAR datasets on the basis of the above-mentioned boundary conditions can the related time series be considered a proxy of the consolidation process governing the subsidence related to external loads as confirmed by a comparison with results from a physically based back analysis based on Terzaghi’s theory. Therefore, if properly managed, the A-DInSAR data represents a powerful tool for capturing the evolutionary stage of the process for a single building and has potential for forecasting the behaviour of the terrain–foundation–structure combination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Imaging Geodesy and Infrastructure Monitoring)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial and Temporal Dependency of NDVI Satellite Imagery in Predicting Bird Diversity over France
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071136
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 14 July 2018 / Accepted: 16 July 2018 / Published: 18 July 2018
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Abstract
Continuous-based predictors of habitat characteristics derived from satellite imagery are increasingly used in species distribution models (SDM). This is especially the case of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) which provides estimates of vegetation productivity and heterogeneity. However, when NDVI predictors are incorporated into
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Continuous-based predictors of habitat characteristics derived from satellite imagery are increasingly used in species distribution models (SDM). This is especially the case of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) which provides estimates of vegetation productivity and heterogeneity. However, when NDVI predictors are incorporated into SDM, synchrony between biological observations and image acquisition must be questionned. Due to seasonal variations of NDVI during the year, landscape patterns of habitats are revealed differently from one date to another leading to variations in models’ performance. In this paper, we investigated the influence of acquisition time period of NDVI to explain and predict bird community patterns over France. We examined if the NDVI acquisition period that best fit the bird data depends on the dominant land cover context. We also compared models based on single time period of NDVI with one model built from the Dynamic Habitat Index (DHI) components which summarize variations in vegetation phenology throughout the year from the fraction of radiation absorbed by the canopy (fPAR). Bird species richness was calculated as response variable for 759 plots of 4 km2 from the French Breeding Bird Survey. Bird specialists and generalists to habitat were considered. NDVI and DHI predictors were both derived from MODIS products. For NDVI, five time periods in 2010 were compared, from late winter to begin of autumn. A climate predictor was also used and Generalized Additive Models were fitted to explain and predict bird species richness. Results showed that NDVI-based proxies of dominant habitat identity and spatial heterogeneity explain more bird community patterns than DHI-based proxies of annual productivity and seasonnality. We also found that models’ performance was both time and context-dependent, varying according to the bird groups. In general, best time period of NDVI did not match with the acquisition period of bird data because in case of synchrony, differences in habitats are less pronounced. These findings suggest that the most powerful approach to estimate bird community patterns is the simplest one. It only requires NDVI predictors from a single appropriate time period, in addition to climate, which makes the approach very operational. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Improved Fully Convolutional Network with Conditional Random Fields for Building Extraction
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 1135; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10071135
Received: 2 June 2018 / Revised: 4 July 2018 / Accepted: 10 July 2018 / Published: 18 July 2018
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Abstract
Building extraction from remotely sensed imagery plays an important role in urban planning, disaster management, navigation, updating geographic databases, and several other geospatial applications. Several published contributions dedicated to the applications of deep convolutional neural networks (DCNN) for building extraction using aerial/satellite imagery
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Building extraction from remotely sensed imagery plays an important role in urban planning, disaster management, navigation, updating geographic databases, and several other geospatial applications. Several published contributions dedicated to the applications of deep convolutional neural networks (DCNN) for building extraction using aerial/satellite imagery exists. However, in all these contributions, high accuracy is always obtained at the price of extremely complex and large network architectures. In this paper, we present an enhanced fully convolutional network (FCN) framework that is designed for building extraction of remotely sensed images by applying conditional random fields (CRFs). The main objective is to propose a methodology selecting a framework that balances high accuracy with low network complexity. A modern activation function, namely, the exponential linear unit (ELU), is applied to improve the performance of the fully convolutional network (FCN), thereby resulting in more accurate building prediction. To further reduce the noise (falsely classified buildings) and to sharpen the boundaries of the buildings, a post-processing conditional random fields (CRFs) is added at the end of the adopted convolutional neural network (CNN) framework. The experiments were conducted on Massachusetts building aerial imagery. The results show that our proposed framework outperformed the fully convolutional network (FCN), which is the existing baseline framework for semantic segmentation, in terms of performance measures such as the F1-score and IoU measure. Additionally, the proposed method outperformed a pre-existing classifier for building extraction using the same dataset in terms of the performance measures and network complexity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Neural Networks for Remote Sensing)
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