Previous Issue
Volume 11, October-1

Table of Contents

Remote Sens., Volume 11, Issue 20 (October-2 2019)

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Open AccessArticle
Project-Based Learning Applied to Unmanned Aerial Systems and Remote Sensing
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2413; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202413 (registering DOI) - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
The development of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology and the miniaturization of sensors have changed the way remote sensing (RS) is used, popularizing this geoscientific discipline in other fields, such as precision agriculture. This makes it necessary to implement the use of these [...] Read more.
The development of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology and the miniaturization of sensors have changed the way remote sensing (RS) is used, popularizing this geoscientific discipline in other fields, such as precision agriculture. This makes it necessary to implement the use of these technologies in teaching RS alongside the classical platforms (satellite and manned aircraft). This manuscript describes how The Higher Technical School of Agricultural Engineering at the University of Córdoba (Spain) has introduced UAV RS into the academic program by way of project-based learning (PBL). It also presents the basic characteristics of PBL, the design of the subject, the description of the teacher-guided and self-directed activities, as well as the degree of student satisfaction. The teaching and learning objectives of the subject are to learn how to determine the vigor, temperature, and water stress of a crop through the use of RGB, multispectral, and thermographic sensors onboard a UAV platform. From the onset, students are motivated, actively participate in the tasks related to the realization of UAV flights, and subsequent processing and analysis of the registered images. Students report that PBL is more engaging and allows them to develop a better understanding of RS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Teaching and Learning in Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
JAXA Annual Forest Cover Maps for Vietnam during 2015–2018 Using ALOS-2/PALSAR-2 and Auxiliary Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2412; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202412 (registering DOI) - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
Monitoring the temporal changes of forests is important for sustainable forest management. In this study, we investigated the potential of using multi-temporal synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images for mapping annual change in forest cover at a national scale. We assessed the robustness of [...] Read more.
Monitoring the temporal changes of forests is important for sustainable forest management. In this study, we investigated the potential of using multi-temporal synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images for mapping annual change in forest cover at a national scale. We assessed the robustness of using multi-temporal Phased Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar-2/Scanning Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR-2/ScanSAR) mosaic images for forest mapping by comparison with single-temporal PALSAR-2 mosaic images for three test sites in North, Central, and Southern Vietnam. We then used a combination of multi-temporal PALSAR-2/ScanSAR images, multi-temporal Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) images, and Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) images to map annual forest cover for mainland Vietnam during 2015–2018. Average overall accuracies of our forest/non-forest (FNF) maps (86.6% ± 3.1%) were greater than recent maps of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA, (77.5% ± 3.2%)) and European Space Agency (ESA, (85.4% ± 1.6%)). Our estimates of mainland Vietnam’s forest area were close to that of the Vietnamese government. A comparison of the spatial distribution of forest estimated from JAXA and ESA FNF maps showed that our FNF map in 2015 agreed relatively well with the ESA map, with 77% of pixels being consistent. This study demonstrates the merit of using multi-temporal PALSAR-2/ScanSAR images for annual forest mapping at a national scale. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessLetter
Land Surface Temperature Variation Following the 2017 Mw 7.3 Iran Earthquake
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2411; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202411 (registering DOI) - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
During an earthquake, crustal deformation, fluid flow, and temperature variation are coupled; however, earthquake-related land surface temperature (LST) variations remain unclear. To determine whether post-seismic fluid migration can cause changes in LST, and taking the Mw 7.3 2017 Iran earthquake as an example, [...] Read more.
During an earthquake, crustal deformation, fluid flow, and temperature variation are coupled; however, earthquake-related land surface temperature (LST) variations remain unclear. To determine whether post-seismic fluid migration can cause changes in LST, and taking the Mw 7.3 2017 Iran earthquake as an example, we modeled surface cooling (CA) and warming (WA) areas induced by co-seismic slip and fluid migration using a thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) coupled numerical simulation. Moreover, using nighttime LST data with 15-min resolution, the daily attenuation coefficient k of nighttime LST was extracted by attenuation function fitting, and the trend of the k time series was analyzed using the Mann–Kendall and Sen’s methods. Based on the comparison of k trends between the post-seismic and 2010–2016 periods, we obtained cooling and warming trends for the modeled CA and WA. The numerical simulation and observational data show good consistency, and both indicate that fluid migration caused by crustal deformation can lead to changes in LST. The numerical simulations show that after the Iran earthquake, the surface projection area of co-seismic slip correlated with a cooling area (CA), while the surrounding area correlated with a warming area (WA). For the LST observational data, the post-seismic k trends of the calculated CA and WA are positive and negative, indicating sustained cooling and warming processes, respectively. This study provides evidence that LST variation is caused by co-seismic crustal deformation and fluid migration and reveals the coupled evolution of deformation, fluid, and temperature fields. The results provide new insights into the mechanisms of seismic thermal anomalies. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Dense Image-Matching via Optical Flow Field Estimation and Fast-Guided Filter Refinement
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2410; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202410 (registering DOI) - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
The development of an efficient and robust method for dense image-matching has been a technical challenge due to high variations in illumination and ground features of aerial images of large areas. In this paper, we propose a method for the dense matching of [...] Read more.
The development of an efficient and robust method for dense image-matching has been a technical challenge due to high variations in illumination and ground features of aerial images of large areas. In this paper, we propose a method for the dense matching of aerial images using an optical flow field and a fast-guided filter. The proposed method utilizes a coarse-to-fine matching strategy for a pixel-wise correspondence search across stereo image pairs. The pyramid Lucas–Kanade (L–K) method is first used to generate a sparse optical flow field within the stereo image pairs, and an adjusted control lattice is then used to derive the multi-level B-spline interpolating function for estimating the dense optical flow field. The dense correspondence is subsequently refined through a combination of a novel cross-region-based voting process and fast guided filtering. The performance of the proposed method was evaluated on three bases, namely, the matching accuracy, the matching success rate, and the matching efficiency. The evaluative experiments were performed using sets of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) images and aerial digital mapping camera (DMC) images. The results showed that the proposed method afforded the root mean square error (RMSE) of the reprojection errors better than ±0.5 pixels in image, and a height accuracy within ±2.5 GSD (ground sampling distance) from the ground. The method was further compared with the state-of-the-art commercial software SURE and confirmed to deliver more complete matches for images with poor-texture areas, the matching success rate of the proposed method is higher than 97% while SURE is 96%, and there is 47% higher matching efficiency. This demonstrates the superior applicability of the proposed method to aerial image-based dense matching with poor texture regions. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Joint Retrieval of Growing Season Corn Canopy LAI and Leaf Chlorophyll Content by Fusing Sentinel-2 and MODIS Images
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2409; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202409 (registering DOI) - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
Continuous and accurate estimates of crop canopy leaf area index (LAI) and chlorophyll content are of great importance for crop growth monitoring. These estimates can be useful for precision agricultural management and agricultural planning. Our objectives were to investigate the joint retrieval of [...] Read more.
Continuous and accurate estimates of crop canopy leaf area index (LAI) and chlorophyll content are of great importance for crop growth monitoring. These estimates can be useful for precision agricultural management and agricultural planning. Our objectives were to investigate the joint retrieval of corn canopy LAI and chlorophyll content using filtered reflectances from Sentinel-2 and MODIS data acquired during the corn growing season, which, being generally hot and rainy, results in few cloud-free Sentinel-2 images. In addition, the retrieved time series of LAI and chlorophyll content results were used to monitor the corn growth behavior in the study area. Our results showed that: (1) the joint retrieval of LAI and chlorophyll content using the proposed joint probability distribution method improved the estimation accuracy of both corn canopy LAI and chlorophyll content. Corn canopy LAI and chlorophyll content were retrieved jointly and accurately using the PROSAIL model with fused Kalman filtered (KF) reflectance images. The relation between retrieved and field measured LAI and chlorophyll content of four corn-growing stages had a coefficient of determination (R2) of about 0.6, and root mean square errors (RMSEs) ranges of mainly 0.1–0.2 and 0.0–0.3, respectively. (2) Kalman filtering is a good way to produce continuous high-resolution reflectance images by synthesizing Sentinel-2 and MODIS reflectances. The correlation between fused KF and Sentinel-2 reflectances had an R2 value of 0.98 and RMSE of 0.0133, and the correlation between KF and field-measured reflectances had an R2 value of 0.8598 and RMSE of 0.0404. (3) The derived continuous KF reflectances captured the crop behavior well. Our analysis showed that the LAI increased from day of year (DOY) 181 (trefoil stage) to DOY 236 (filling stage), and then increased continuously until harvest, while the chlorophyll content first also increased from DOY 181 to DOY 236, and then remained stable until harvest. These results revealed that the jointly retrieved continuous LAI and chlorophyll content could be used to monitor corn growth conditions. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Monitoring of Urbanization and Analysis of Environmental Impact in Stockholm with Sentinel-2A and SPOT-5 Multispectral Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2408; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202408 (registering DOI) - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
There has been substantial urban growth in Stockholm, Sweden, the fastest-growing capital in Europe. The intensifying urbanization poses challenges for environmental management and sustainable development. Using Sentinel-2 and SPOT-5 imagery, this research investigates the evolution of land-cover change in Stockholm County between 2005 [...] Read more.
There has been substantial urban growth in Stockholm, Sweden, the fastest-growing capital in Europe. The intensifying urbanization poses challenges for environmental management and sustainable development. Using Sentinel-2 and SPOT-5 imagery, this research investigates the evolution of land-cover change in Stockholm County between 2005 and 2015, and evaluates urban growth impact on protected green areas, green infrastructure and urban ecosystem service provision. One scene of 2015 Sentinel-2A multispectral instrument (MSI) and 10 scenes of 2005 SPOT-5 high-resolution instruments (HRI) imagery over Stockholm County are classified into 10 land-cover categories using object-based image analysis and a support vector machine algorithm with spectral, textural and geometric features. Reaching accuracies of approximately 90%, the classifications are then analyzed to determine impact of urban growth in Stockholm between 2005 and 2015, including land-cover change statistics, landscape-level urban ecosystem service provision bundle changes and evaluation of regional and local impact on legislatively protected areas as well as ecologically significant green infrastructure networks. The results indicate that urban areas increased by 15%, while non-urban land cover decreased by 4%. In terms of ecosystem services, changes in proximity of forest and low-density built-up areas were the main cause of lowered provision of temperature regulation, air purification and noise reduction. There was a decadal ecosystem service loss of 4.6 million USD (2015 exchange rate). Urban areas within a 200 m buffer zone around the Swedish environmental protection agency’s nature reserves increased 16%, with examples of urban areas constructed along nature reserve boundaries. Urban expansion overlapped the deciduous ecological corridor network and green wedge/core areas to a small but increasing degree, often in close proximity to weak but important green links in the landscape. Given these findings, increased conservation/restoration focus on the region’s green weak links is recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Ecosystem Services Flows and Dynamics Using Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Modeling the Effect of Environmental and Topographic Variables Affecting the Height Increment of Norway Spruce Stands in Mountainous Conditions with the Use of LiDAR Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2407; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202407 (registering DOI) - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
Differing levels of humidity, sunlight exposure or temperature in different areas of mountain ranges are fundamental to the existence of particular vegetation types. A better understanding of even local variability of trees may bring significant benefits, not only economic, but most of all, [...] Read more.
Differing levels of humidity, sunlight exposure or temperature in different areas of mountain ranges are fundamental to the existence of particular vegetation types. A better understanding of even local variability of trees may bring significant benefits, not only economic, but most of all, nature-related. The main focus of this study was the analysis of relationships between increment in stand height, age and the natural topography in the examined area. Among others, the following were examined with regard to their influence on the growing process: age, altitude above sea level (m a.s.l.), aspect and slope, topographic wetness index (TWI), and topographic position index (TPI) generated from an airborne laser scanning (ALS)-derived elevation model. To precisely calculate forest growth dynamics in mountain conditions for different spruce stands, repeated airborne lidar measurements from 2007 and 2012 were used (with resolution respectively 4 and 6 pts./m2). Detailed information on every stand including species composition, share of individual species, as well as their age, were acquired from the State Forests IT System (SILP). It was proven in this study, that environmental and topographic variables may have an impact on forest growth dynamics on even closely located areas. Apart from the age, the greatest influence on tree growth has an altitude above sea level, aspect and slope. The highest height increment of spruce was observed in the stands of up to 30 years old, those that had grown at an altitude under 850 m a.s.l., on the slopes up to 15 degrees or on those which were on the northeastern exposure. The results obtained show that the physiology of species, even those that are well known, largely depends on local topographic conditions. The proven impact of different topography factors on the growth of spruce may be used while planning economic activities in precision forestry. Additional research with using multiple laser scanning in the context of other regions or other species may bring us better recognition of local growth conditions and in consequence, significantly better planning and higher revenues obtained from the sale of trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessTechnical Note
Spatial and Seasonal Patterns in Vegetation Growth-Limiting Factors over Europe
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2406; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202406 (registering DOI) - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
Water and energy are recognized as the most influential climatic vegetation growth-limiting factors. These factors are usually measured from ground meteorological stations. However, since both vary in space, time, and scale, they can be assessed by satellite-derived biophysical indicators. Energy, represented by land [...] Read more.
Water and energy are recognized as the most influential climatic vegetation growth-limiting factors. These factors are usually measured from ground meteorological stations. However, since both vary in space, time, and scale, they can be assessed by satellite-derived biophysical indicators. Energy, represented by land surface temperature (LST), is assumed to resemble air temperature; and water availability, related to precipitation, is represented by the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). It is hypothesized that positive correlations between LST and NDVI indicate energy-limited conditions, while negative correlations indicate water-limited conditions. The current project aimed to quantify the spatial and seasonal (spring and summer) distributions of LST–NDVI relations over Europe, using long-term (2000–2017) MODIS images. Overlaying the LST–NDVI relations on the European biome map revealed that relations between LST and NDVI were highly diverse among the various biomes and throughout the entire study period (March–August). During the spring season (March–May), 80% of the European domain, across all biomes, showed the dominance of significant positive relations. However, during the summer season (June–August), most of the biomes—except the northern ones—turned to negative correlation. This study demonstrates that the drought/vegetation/stress spectral indices, based on the prevalent hypothesis of an inverse LST–NDVI correlation, are spatially and temporally dependent. These negative correlations are not valid in regions where energy is the limiting factor (e.g., in the drier regions in the southern and eastern extents of the domain) or during specific periods of the year (e.g., the spring season). Consequently, it is essential to re-examine this assumption and restrict applications of such an approach only to areas and periods in which negative correlations are observed. Predicted climate change will lead to an increase in temperature in the coming decades (i.e., increased LST), as well as a complex pattern of precipitation changes (i.e., changes of NDVI). Thus shifts in plant species locations are expected to cause a redistribution of biomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Ecosystem Modelling)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessReview
Satellite Remote Sensing of the Greenland Ice Sheet Ablation Zone: A Review
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2405; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202405 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 179
Abstract
The Greenland Ice Sheet is now the largest land ice contributor to global sea level rise, largely driven by increased surface meltwater runoff from the ablation zone, i.e., areas of the ice sheet where annual mass losses exceed gains. This small but critically [...] Read more.
The Greenland Ice Sheet is now the largest land ice contributor to global sea level rise, largely driven by increased surface meltwater runoff from the ablation zone, i.e., areas of the ice sheet where annual mass losses exceed gains. This small but critically important area of the ice sheet has expanded in size by ~50% since the early 1960s, and satellite remote sensing is a powerful tool for monitoring the physical processes that influence its surface mass balance. This review synthesizes key remote sensing methods and scientific findings from satellite remote sensing of the Greenland Ice Sheet ablation zone, covering progress in (1) radar altimetry, (2) laser (lidar) altimetry, (3) gravimetry, (4) multispectral optical imagery, and (5) microwave and thermal imagery. Physical characteristics and quantities examined include surface elevation change, gravimetric mass balance, reflectance, albedo, and mapping of surface melt extent and glaciological facies and zones. The review concludes that future progress will benefit most from methods that combine multi-sensor, multi-wavelength, and cross-platform datasets designed to discriminate the widely varying surface processes in the ablation zone. Specific examples include fusing laser altimetry, radar altimetry, and optical stereophotogrammetry to enhance spatial measurement density, cross-validate surface elevation change, and diagnose radar elevation bias; employing dual-frequency radar, microwave scatterometry, or combining radar and laser altimetry to map seasonal snow depth; fusing optical imagery, radar imagery, and microwave scatterometry to discriminate between snow, liquid water, refrozen meltwater, and bare ice near the equilibrium line altitude; combining optical reflectance with laser altimetry to map supraglacial lake, stream, and crevasse bathymetry; and monitoring the inland migration of snowlines, surface melt extent, and supraglacial hydrologic features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Infrared Optical Observability of an Earth Entry Orbital Test Vehicle Using Ground‐Based Remote Sensors
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2404; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202404 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 130
Abstract
Optical design parameters for a ground-based infrared sensor rely strongly on the target’s optical radiation properties. Infrared (IR) optical observability and imaging simulations of an Earth entry vehicle were evaluated using a comprehensive numerical model. Based on a ground-based IR detection system, this [...] Read more.
Optical design parameters for a ground-based infrared sensor rely strongly on the target’s optical radiation properties. Infrared (IR) optical observability and imaging simulations of an Earth entry vehicle were evaluated using a comprehensive numerical model. Based on a ground-based IR detection system, this model considered many physical mechanisms including thermochemical nonequilibrium reacting flow, radiative properties, optical propagation, detection range, atmospheric transmittance, and imaging processes. An orbital test vehicle (OTV) was selected as the research object for analysis of its observability using a ground-based infrared system. IR radiance contours, maximum detecting range (MDR), and thermal infrared (TIR) pixel arrangement were modeled. The results show that the distribution of IR radiance is strongly dependent on the angle of observation and the spectral band. Several special phenomena, including a strong receiving region (SRR), a characteristic attitude, a blind zone, and an equivalent zone, are all found in the varying altitude MDR distributions of mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) and long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) irradiances. In addition, the possible increase in detectivity can greatly improve the MDR at high altitudes, especially for the backward and forward views. The difference in the peak radiance of the LWIR images is within one order of magnitude, but the difference in that of the MWIR images varies greatly. Analyses and results indicate that this model can provide guidance in the design of remote ground-based detection systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Target Object Detection and Identification)
Open AccessArticle
Detection of Geothermal Potential Zones Using Remote Sensing Techniques
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2403; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202403 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 133
Abstract
The transition towards a new sustainable energy model—replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources—presents a multidisciplinary challenge. One of the major decarbonization issues is the question of to optimize energy transport networks for renewable energy sources. Within the range of renewable energies, the location [...] Read more.
The transition towards a new sustainable energy model—replacing fossil fuels with renewable sources—presents a multidisciplinary challenge. One of the major decarbonization issues is the question of to optimize energy transport networks for renewable energy sources. Within the range of renewable energies, the location and evaluation of geothermal energy is associated with costly processes, such as drilling, which limit its use. Therefore, the present research is aimed at applying different geomatic techniques for the detection of geothermal resources. The workflow is based on free/open access geospatial data. More specifically, remote sensing information (Sentinel-2A and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER)), geological information, distribution of gravimetric anomalies, and geographic information systems have been used to detect areas of shallow geothermal potential in the northwest of the province of Orense, Spain. Due to the variety of parameters involved, and the complexity of the classification, a random forest classifier was employed, since this algorithm works well with large sets of data and can be used with categorical and numerical data. The results obtained allowed identifying a susceptible area to be operated on with a geothermal potential of 80 W·m−1 or higher. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Monitoring of Urban Black-Odor Water Based on Nemerow Index and Gradient Boosting Decision Tree Regression Using UAV-Borne Hyperspectral Imagery
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2402; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202402 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 136
Abstract
The formation of black-odor water in urban rivers has a long history. It not only seriously affects the image of the city, but also easily breeds germs and damages the urban habitat. The prevention and treatment of urban black-odor water have long been [...] Read more.
The formation of black-odor water in urban rivers has a long history. It not only seriously affects the image of the city, but also easily breeds germs and damages the urban habitat. The prevention and treatment of urban black-odor water have long been important topics nationwide. “Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Water Pollution” issued by the State Council shows Chinese government’s high attention to this issue. However, treatment and monitoring are inextricably linked. There are few studies on the large-scale monitoring of black-odor water, especially the cases of using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to efficiently and accurately monitor the spatial distribution of urban river pollution. Therefore, in order to get rid of the limitations of traditional ground sampling to evaluate the point source pollution of rivers, the UAV-borne hyperspectral imagery was applied in this paper. It is hoped to grasp the pollution status of the entire river as soon as possible from the surface. However, the retrieval of multiple water quality parameters will lead to cumulative errors, so the Nemerow comprehensive pollution index (NCPI) is introduced to characterize the pollution level of urban water. In the paper, the retrieval results of six regression models including gradient boosting decision tree regression (GBDTR) were compared, trying to find a regression model for the retrieval NCPI in the current scenario. In the first study area, the retrieval accuracy of the training dataset (adjusted_R2 = 0.978), and test dataset (adjusted_R2 = 0.974) was higher than that of the other regression models. Although the retrieval effect of random forest is similar to that of GBDTR in both training accuracy and image inversion, it is more computationally expensive. Finally, the spatial distribution graphs of NCPI and its technical feasibility in monitoring pollution sources were investigated, in combination with field observations. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessCommunication
RadCalNet: A Radiometric Calibration Network for Earth Observing Imagers Operating in the Visible to Shortwave Infrared Spectral Range
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2401; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202401 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 119
Abstract
Vicarious calibration approaches using in situ measurements saw first use in the early 1980s and have since improved to keep pace with the evolution of the radiometric requirements of the sensors that are being calibrated. The advantage of in situ measurements for vicarious [...] Read more.
Vicarious calibration approaches using in situ measurements saw first use in the early 1980s and have since improved to keep pace with the evolution of the radiometric requirements of the sensors that are being calibrated. The advantage of in situ measurements for vicarious calibration is that they can be carried out with traceable and quantifiable accuracy, making them ideal for interconsistency studies of on-orbit sensors. The recent development of automated sites to collect the in situ data has led to an increase in the available number of datasets for sensor calibration. The current work describes the Radiometric Calibration Network (RadCalNet) that is an effort to provide automated surface and atmosphere in situ data as part of a network including multiple sites for the purpose of optical imager radiometric calibration in the visible to shortwave infrared spectral range. The key goals of RadCalNet are to standardize protocols for collecting data, process to top-of-atmosphere reflectance, and provide uncertainty budgets for automated sites traceable to the international system of units. RadCalNet is the result of efforts by the RadCalNet Working Group under the umbrella of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Working Group on Calibration and Validation (WGCV) and the Infrared Visible Optical Sensors (IVOS). Four radiometric calibration instrumented sites located in the USA, France, China, and Namibia are presented here that were used as initial sites for prototyping and demonstrating RadCalNet. All four sites rely on collection of data for assessing the surface reflectance as well as atmospheric data over that site. The data are converted to top-of-atmosphere reflectance within RadCalNet and provided through a web portal to allow users to either radiometrically calibrate or verify the calibration of their sensors of interest. Top-of-atmosphere reflectance data with associated uncertainties are available at 10 nm intervals over the 400 nm to 1000 nm spectral range at 30 minute intervals for a nadir-viewing geometry. An example is shown demonstrating how top-of-atmosphere data from RadCalNet can be used to determine the interconsistency between two sensors. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Error Budget in the Validation of Radiometric Products Derived from OLCI around the China Sea from Open Ocean to Coastal Waters Compared with MODIS and VIIRS
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2400; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202400 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 119
Abstract
The accuracy of remote-sensing reflectance (Rrs) estimated from ocean color imagery through the atmospheric correction step is essential in conducting quantitative estimates of the inherent optical properties and biogeochemical parameters of seawater. Therefore, finding the main source of error is the first step [...] Read more.
The accuracy of remote-sensing reflectance (Rrs) estimated from ocean color imagery through the atmospheric correction step is essential in conducting quantitative estimates of the inherent optical properties and biogeochemical parameters of seawater. Therefore, finding the main source of error is the first step toward improving the accuracy of Rrs. However, the classic validation exercises provide only the total error of the retrieved Rrs. They do not reveal the error sources. Moreover, how to effectively improve this satellite algorithm remains unknown. To better understand and improve various aspects of the satellite atmospheric correction algorithm, the error budget in the validation is required. Here, to find the primary error source from the OLCI Rrs, we evaluated the OLCI Rrs product with in-situ data around the China Sea from open ocean to coastal waters and compared them with the MODIS-AQUA and VIIRS products. The results show that the performances of OLCI are comparable to those MODIS-AQUA. The average percentage difference (APD) in Rrs is lowest at 490 nm (18%), and highest at 754 nm (79%). A more detailed analysis reveals that open ocean and coastal waters show opposite results: compared to coastal waters the satellite Rrs in open seas are higher than the in-situ measured values. An error budget for the three satellite-derived Rrs products is presented, showing that the primary error source in the China Sea was the aerosol estimation and the error on the Rayleigh-corrected radiance for OLCI, as well as for MODIS and VIIRS. This work suggests that to improve the accuracy of Sentinel-3A in the coastal waters of China, the accuracy of aerosol estimation in atmospheric correction must be improved. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Benefits of a Closely-Spaced Satellite Constellation of Atmospheric Polarimetric Radio Occultation Measurements
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2399; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202399 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 99
Abstract
The climate and weather forecast predictive capability for precipitation intensity is limited by gaps in the understanding of basic cloud-convective processes. Currently, a better understanding of the cloud-convective process lacks observational constraints, due to the difficulty in obtaining accurate, vertically resolved pressure, temperature, [...] Read more.
The climate and weather forecast predictive capability for precipitation intensity is limited by gaps in the understanding of basic cloud-convective processes. Currently, a better understanding of the cloud-convective process lacks observational constraints, due to the difficulty in obtaining accurate, vertically resolved pressure, temperature, and water vapor structure inside and near convective clouds. This manuscript describes the potential advantages of collecting sequential radio occultation (RO) observations from a constellation of closely spaced low Earth-orbiting satellites. In this configuration, the RO tangent points tend to cluster together, such that successive RO ray paths are sampling independent air mass quantities as the ray paths lie “parallel” to one another. When the RO train orbits near a region of precipitation, there is a probability that one or more of the RO ray paths will intersect the region of heavy precipitation, and one or more would lie outside. The presence of heavy precipitation can be discerned by the use of the polarimetric RO (PRO) technique recently demonstrated by the Radio Occultations through Heavy Precipitation (ROHP) receiver onboard the Spanish PAZ spacecraft. This sampling strategy provides unique, near-simultaneous observations of the water vapor profile inside and in the environment surrounding heavy precipitation, which are not possible from current RO data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GPS/GNSS for Earth Science and Applications)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
A Spatial-Socioeconomic Urban Development Status Curve from NPP-VIIRS Nighttime Light Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2398; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202398 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 104
Abstract
Urban development status is closely related to the urban economy, environment, ecology, and health. Spatial and socioeconomic processes are the two key aspects of urban development, so the absence of any of them will affect the assessment of urban development status. In this [...] Read more.
Urban development status is closely related to the urban economy, environment, ecology, and health. Spatial and socioeconomic processes are the two key aspects of urban development, so the absence of any of them will affect the assessment of urban development status. In this study, using both spatial and socioeconomic information from land cover data and nighttime light data, respectively, we proposed an exponential model, Spatial–Socioeconomic Urban Development Curve (SSUDC), to provide a quantitative expression of the relationship between the two key processes of urban development and analyze urban development status. The SSUDC was calculated from the artificial surface ratio at 1% intervals obtained from Globeland30 land cover data and the corresponding average NPP-VIIRS nighttime light radiance data, using a nonlinear least-squares method. We generated SSUDCs for 330 prefecture-level cities in Mainland China, 208 of which had coefficients of determination (R2) greater than 0.6. Taking Ordos and Guiyang as two typical examples, we analyzed the importance and advantages of SSUDC. The coefficients α and β of the exponential SSUDC were shown to indicate the base intensity socioeconomic activity and the concentration of socioeconomic activities, respectively, and can be used to reveal the urban socioeconomic development status and functional type of cities. At the internal urban level, the residuals of SSUDC can imply the demand for urban physical or economic construction in different areas of the city, and even the urban growth type, together with the distribution of the artificial surface ratio. In summary, the proposed SSUDC provides a simple way to combine the spatial and socioeconomic processes of urban development, which is beneficial to the analysis of urban development at different scales and a rewarding tool for urban planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Urban Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Extracting Irrigation Structure Networks from Pre-Landsat 4 Satellite Imagery Using Vegetation Indices
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2397; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202397 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 105
Abstract
Often discussed, the spatial extent and scope of the Khmer Rouge irrigation network has not been previously mapped on a national scale. Although low resolution, early Landsat images can identify water features accurately when using vegetation indices. We discuss the methods involved in [...] Read more.
Often discussed, the spatial extent and scope of the Khmer Rouge irrigation network has not been previously mapped on a national scale. Although low resolution, early Landsat images can identify water features accurately when using vegetation indices. We discuss the methods involved in mapping historic irrigation on a national scale, as well as comparing the performance of several vegetation indices at irrigation detection. Irrigation was a critical component of the Communist Part of Kampuchea (CPK)’s plan to transform Cambodia into an ideal communist society, aimed at providing surplus for the nation by tripling rice production. Of the three indices used, normalized difference, corrected transformed, and Thiam’s transformed vegetation indexes, (NDVI, CTVI, and TTVI respectively), the CTVI provided the clearest images of water storage and transport. This method for identifying anthropogenic water features proved highly accurate, despite low spatial resolution. We were successful in locating and identifying both water storage and irrigation canals from the time that the CPK regime was in power. In many areas these canals and reservoirs are no longer visible, even with high resolution modern satellites. Most of the structures built at this time experienced some collapse, either during the CPK regime or soon after, however many have been rehabilitated and are still in use, in at least a partial capacity. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
New Global View of Above-Cloud Absorbing Aerosol Distribution Based on CALIPSO Measurements
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2396; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202396 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 102
Abstract
Above-low-level-cloud aerosols (ACAs) have gradually gained more interest in recent years; however, the combined aerosol–cloud radiation effects are not well understood. The uncertainty about the radiative effects of aerosols above cloud mainly stems from the lack of comprehensive and accurate retrieval of aerosols [...] Read more.
Above-low-level-cloud aerosols (ACAs) have gradually gained more interest in recent years; however, the combined aerosol–cloud radiation effects are not well understood. The uncertainty about the radiative effects of aerosols above cloud mainly stems from the lack of comprehensive and accurate retrieval of aerosols and clouds for ACA scenes. In this study, an improved ACA identification and retrieval methodology was developed to provide a new global view of the ACA distribution by combining three-channel CALIOP (The Cloud–Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization) observations. The new method can reliably identify and retrieve both thin and dense ACA layers, providing consistent results between the day- and night-time retrieval of ACAs. Then, new four-year (2007 to 2010) global ACA datasets were built, and new seasonal mean views of global ACA occurrence, optical depth, and geometrical thickness were presented and analyzed. Further discussion on the relative position of ACAs to low clouds showed that the mean distance between the ACA layer and the low cloud deck over the tropical Atlantic region is less than 0.2 km. This indicates that the ACAs over this region are more likely to be mixed with low-level clouds, thereby possibly influencing the cloud microphysics over this region, contrary to findings reported from previous studies. The results not only help us better understand global aerosol transportation and aerosol–cloud interactions but also provide useful information for model evaluation and improvements. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Deep Self-Learning Network for Adaptive Pansharpening
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2395; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202395 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 114
Abstract
Deep learning (DL)-based paradigms have recently made many advances in image pansharpening. However, most of the existing methods directly downscale the multispectral (MSI) and panchromatic (PAN) images with default blur kernel to construct the training set, which will lead to the deteriorative results [...] Read more.
Deep learning (DL)-based paradigms have recently made many advances in image pansharpening. However, most of the existing methods directly downscale the multispectral (MSI) and panchromatic (PAN) images with default blur kernel to construct the training set, which will lead to the deteriorative results when the real image does not obey this degradation. In this paper, a deep self-learning (DSL) network is proposed for adaptive image pansharpening. First, rather than using the fixed blur kernel, a point spread function (PSF) estimation algorithm is proposed to obtain the blur kernel of the MSI. Second, an edge-detection-based pixel-to-pixel image registration method is designed to recover the local misalignments between MSI and PAN. Third, the original data is downscaled by the estimated PSF and the pansharpening network is trained in the down-sampled domain. The high-resolution result can be finally predicted by the trained DSL network using the original MSI and PAN. Extensive experiments on three images collected by different satellites prove the superiority of our DSL technique, compared with some state-of-the-art approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Image Restoration and Reconstruction)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessTechnical Note
Rapid and Accurate Monitoring of Intertidal Oyster Reef Habitat Using Unoccupied Aircraft Systems and Structure from Motion
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2394; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202394 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 293
Abstract
Oysters support an economically important fishery in many locations in the United States and provide benefits to the surrounding environment by filtering water, providing habitat for fish, and stabilizing shorelines. Changes in oyster reef health reflect variations in factors such as recreational and [...] Read more.
Oysters support an economically important fishery in many locations in the United States and provide benefits to the surrounding environment by filtering water, providing habitat for fish, and stabilizing shorelines. Changes in oyster reef health reflect variations in factors such as recreational and commercial harvests, predation, disease, storms, and broader anthropogenic influences, such as climate change. Consistent measurements of reef area and morphology can help effectively monitor oyster habitat across locations. However, traditional approaches to acquiring these data are time-consuming and can be costly. Unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS) present a rapid and reliable method for assessing oyster habitat that may overcome these limitations, although little information on the accuracy of platforms and processing techniques is available. In the present study, oyster reefs ranging in size from 30 m2 to 300 m2 were surveyed using both fixed-wing and multirotor UAS and compared with ground-based surveys of each reef conducted with a real-time kinematic global positioning system (RTK-GPS) system. Survey images from UAS were processed using structure from motion (SfM) stereo photogrammetry techniques, with and without the use of ground control point (GCP) correction, to create reef-scale measures of area and morphology for comparison to ground-based measures. UAS-based estimates of both reef area and morphology were consistently lower than ground-based estimates, and the results of matched pairs analyses revealed that differences in reef area did not vary significantly by aircraft or the use of GCPs. However, the use of GCPs increased the accuracy of UAS-based reef morphology measurements, particularly in areas with the presence of water and/or homogeneous spectral characteristics. Our results indicate that both fixed-wing and multirotor UAS can be used to accurately monitor intertidal oyster reefs over time and that proper ground control techniques will improve measurements of reef morphology. These non-destructive methods help modernize oyster habitat monitoring by providing useful and accurate knowledge about the structure and health of oyster reefs ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue She Maps)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Case for a Single Channel Composite Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Algorithm
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2393; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202393 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 132
Abstract
Surface temperatures derived from satellite thermal infrared (TIR) data are critical inputs for assessing climate change in polar environments. Sea and ice surface temperature (SST, IST) are commonly determined with split window algorithms that use the brightness temperature from the 11 μm channel [...] Read more.
Surface temperatures derived from satellite thermal infrared (TIR) data are critical inputs for assessing climate change in polar environments. Sea and ice surface temperature (SST, IST) are commonly determined with split window algorithms that use the brightness temperature from the 11 μm channel (BT11) as the main estimator and the difference between BT11 and the 12 μm channel (BTD11–12) to correct for atmospheric water vapor absorption. An issue with this paradigm in the Arctic maritime environment is the occurrence of high BTD11–12 that is not indicative of atmospheric absorption of BT11 energy. The Composite Arctic Sea Surface Temperature Algorithm (CASSTA) considers three regimes based on BT11 pixel value: seawater, ice, and marginal ice zones. A single channel (BT11) estimator is used for SST and a split window algorithm for IST. Marginal ice zone temperature is determined with a weighted average between the SST and IST. This study replaces the CASSTA split window IST with a single channel (BT11) estimator to reduce errors associated with BTD11–12 in the split window algorithm. The single channel IST returned improved results in the CASSTA dataset with a mean average error for ice and marginal ice zones of 0.142 K and 0.128 K, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polar Sea Ice: Detection, Monitoring and Modeling)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Role of Surface Melt and Icing Events in Livestock Mortality across Mongolia’s Semi-Arid Landscape
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2392; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202392 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 135
Abstract
Livestock production is a socioeconomic linchpin in Mongolia and is affected by large-scale livestock die-offs. Colloquially known as dzuds, these die-offs are driven by anomalous climatic events, including extreme cold temperatures, extended snow cover duration (SCD) and drought. As average temperatures across [...] Read more.
Livestock production is a socioeconomic linchpin in Mongolia and is affected by large-scale livestock die-offs. Colloquially known as dzuds, these die-offs are driven by anomalous climatic events, including extreme cold temperatures, extended snow cover duration (SCD) and drought. As average temperatures across Mongolia have increased at roughly twice the global rate, we hypothesized that increasing cold season surface melt including soil freeze/thaw (FT), snowmelt, and icing events associated with regional warming have become increasingly important drivers of dzud events as they can reduce pasture productivity and inhibit access to grazing. Here, we use daily brightness temperature (Tb) observations to identify anomalous surface melt and icing events across Mongolia from 2003–2016 and their contribution to dzuds relative to other climatic drivers, including winter temperatures, SCD, and drought. We find a positive relationship between surface melt and icing events and livestock mortality during the fall in southern Mongolia and during the spring in the central and western regions. Further, anomalous seasonal surface melt and icing events explain 17–34% of the total variance in annual livestock mortality, with cold temperatures as the leading contributor of dzuds (20–37%). Summer drought showed the greatest explanatory power (43%) but overall had less statistically significant relationships relative to winter temperatures. Our results indicate that surface melt and icing events will become an increasingly important driver of dzuds as annual temperatures and livestock populations are projected to increase in Mongolia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Remote Sensing for Physical Geography)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Snow-Covered Area Retrieval from Himawari–8 AHI Imagery of the Tibetan Plateau
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2391; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202391 - 16 Oct 2019
Viewed by 120
Abstract
Daily snow-covered area retrieval using the imagery in solar reflective bands often encounters extensive data gaps caused by cloud obscuration. With the inception of geostationary satellites carrying advanced multispectral imagers of high temporal resolution, such as Japan’s geostationary weather satellite Himawari–8, considerable progress [...] Read more.
Daily snow-covered area retrieval using the imagery in solar reflective bands often encounters extensive data gaps caused by cloud obscuration. With the inception of geostationary satellites carrying advanced multispectral imagers of high temporal resolution, such as Japan’s geostationary weather satellite Himawari–8, considerable progress can now be made towards spatially-complete estimation of daily snow-covered area. We developed a dynamic snow index (normalized difference snow index for vegetation-free background and normalized difference forest–snow index for vegetation background) fractional snow cover estimation method using Himawari–8 Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) observations of the Tibetan Plateau. This method estimates fractional snow cover with the pixel-by-pixel linear relationship of snow index observations acquired under snow-free and snow-covered conditions. To achieve reliable snow-covered area mapping with minimal cloud contamination, the daily fractional snow cover can be represented as the composite of the high temporal resolution fractional snow cover estimates during daytime. The comparison against reference fractional snow cover data from Landsat–8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) showed that the root–mean–square error (RMSE) of the Himawari–8 AHI fractional snow cover ranged from 0.07 to 0.16, and that the coefficient of determination (R2) reached 0.81–0.96. Results from the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 winters indicated that the daily composite of Himawari–8 observations obtained a 14% cloud percentage over the Tibetan Plateau, which was less than the cloud percentage (27%) from the combination of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard Terra and Aqua. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing of the Water Cycle)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Detecting Winter Wheat Irrigation Signals Using SMAP Gridded Soil Moisture Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2390; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202390 - 15 Oct 2019
Viewed by 157
Abstract
The southern part of the Hebei Province is one of China’s major crop-producing regions. Due to the continuous decline in groundwater level, agricultural water use is facing significant challenges. Precision agricultural irrigation management is undoubtedly an effective way to solve this problem. Based [...] Read more.
The southern part of the Hebei Province is one of China’s major crop-producing regions. Due to the continuous decline in groundwater level, agricultural water use is facing significant challenges. Precision agricultural irrigation management is undoubtedly an effective way to solve this problem. Based on multisource data (time series soil moisture active passive (SMAP) data, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and evapotranspiration (ET), and meteorological station precipitation), the irrigation signal (frequency, timing and area) is detected in the southern part of the Hebei Province. The SMAP data was processed by the 5-point moving average method to reduce the error caused by the uncertainty of the microwave data derived SM. Irrigation signals can be detected by removing the precipitation effect and setting the SM change threshold. Based on the validation results, the overall accuracy of the irrigation signal detection is 77.08%. Simultaneously, considering the spatial resolution limitation of SMAP pixels, the SMAP irrigation area was downscaled using the winter wheat area extracted from MODIS NDVI. The analytical results of 55 winter wheat samples (5 samples in a group) showed that winter wheat covered by one SMAP pixel had an 82.72% growth consistency in surface water irrigation period, which can indicate a downscaling effectiveness. According to the above statistical analysis, this paper considers that although the spatial resolution of SMAP data is insufficient, it can reflect the change of SM more sensitively. In areas where the crop pattern is relatively uniform, the introduction of high-resolution crop pattern distribution can be used not only to detect irrigation signals but also to validate the effectiveness of irrigation signal detection by analyzing crop growth consistency. Therefore, the downscaling results can indicate the true winter wheat irrigation timing, area and frequency in the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of the Terrestrial Hydrologic Cycle)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Detection of Archaeological Looting from Space: Methods, Achievements and Challenges
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2389; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202389 - 15 Oct 2019
Viewed by 282
Abstract
Illegal excavations in archaeological heritage sites (namely “looting”) are a global phenomenon. Satellite images are nowadays massively used by archaeologists to systematically document sites affected by looting. In parallel, remote sensing scientists are increasingly developing processing methods with a certain degree of automation [...] Read more.
Illegal excavations in archaeological heritage sites (namely “looting”) are a global phenomenon. Satellite images are nowadays massively used by archaeologists to systematically document sites affected by looting. In parallel, remote sensing scientists are increasingly developing processing methods with a certain degree of automation to quantify looting using satellite imagery. To capture the state-of-the-art of this growing field of remote sensing, in this work 47 peer-reviewed research publications and grey literature are reviewed, accounting for: (i) the type of satellite data used, i.e., optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR); (ii) properties of looting features utilized as proxies for damage assessment (e.g., shape, morphology, spectral signature); (iii) image processing workflows; and (iv) rationale for validation. Several scholars studied looting even prior to the conflicts recently affecting the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Regardless of the method used for looting feature identification (either visual/manual, or with the aid of image processing), they preferred very high resolution (VHR) optical imagery, mainly black-and-white panchromatic, or pansharpened multispectral, whereas SAR is being used more recently by specialist image analysts only. Yet the full potential of VHR and high resolution (HR) multispectral information in optical imagery is to be exploited, with limited research studies testing spectral indices. To fill this gap, a range of looted sites across the MENA region are presented in this work, i.e., Lisht, Dashur, and Abusir el Malik (Egypt), and Tell Qarqur, Tell Jifar, Sergiopolis, Apamea, Dura Europos, and Tell Hizareen (Syria). The aim is to highlight: (i) the complementarity of HR multispectral data and VHR SAR with VHR optical imagery, (ii) usefulness of spectral profiles in the visible and near-infrared bands, and (iii) applicability of methods for multi-temporal change detection. Satellite data used for the demonstration include: HR multispectral imagery from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 constellation, VHR X-band SAR data from the COSMO-SkyMed mission, VHR panchromatic and multispectral WorldView-2 imagery, and further VHR optical data acquired by GeoEye-1, IKONOS-2, QuickBird-2, and WorldView-3, available through Google Earth. Commonalities between the different image processing methods are examined, alongside a critical discussion about automation in looting assessment, current lack of common practices in image processing, achievements in managing the uncertainty in looting feature interpretation, and current needs for more dissemination and user uptake. Directions toward sharing and harmonization of methodologies are outlined, and some proposals are made with regard to the aspects that the community working with satellite images should consider, in order to define best practices of satellite-based looting assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 2nd Edition Advances in Remote Sensing for Archaeological Heritage)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Functional Phenology of a Texas Post Oak Savanna from a CHRIS PROBA Time Series
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2388; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202388 - 15 Oct 2019
Viewed by 110
Abstract
Remnant midwestern oak savannas in the USA have been altered by fire suppression and the encroachment of woody evergreen trees and shrubs. The Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area (GEWMA) near Palestine, Texas represents a relatively intact southern example of thickening and evergreen encroachment [...] Read more.
Remnant midwestern oak savannas in the USA have been altered by fire suppression and the encroachment of woody evergreen trees and shrubs. The Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area (GEWMA) near Palestine, Texas represents a relatively intact southern example of thickening and evergreen encroachment in oak savannas. In this study, 18 images from the CHRIS/PROBA (Compact High-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer/Project for On-Board Autonomy) sensor were acquired between June 2009 and October 2010 and used to explore variation in canopy dynamics among deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, and savanna grassland in seasonal leaf-on and leaf-off conditions. Nadir CHRIS images from the 11 useable dates were processed to surface reflectance and a selection of vegetation indices (VIs) sensitive to pigments, photosynthetic efficiency, and canopy water content were calculated. An analysis of temporal VI phenology was undertaken using a fishnet polygon at 90 m resolution incorporating tree densities from a classified aerial photo and soil type polygons. The results showed that the major differences in spectral phenology were associated with deciduous tree density, the density of evergreen trees and shrubs—especially during deciduous leaf-off periods—broad vegetation types, and soil type interactions with elevation. The VIs were sensitive to high densities of evergreens during the leaf-off period and indicative of a photosynthetic advantage over deciduous trees. The largest differences in VI profiles were associated with high and low tree density, and soil types with the lowest and highest available soil water. The study showed how time series of hyperspectral data could be used to monitor the relative abundance and vigor of desirable and less desirable species in conservation lands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Savannas and Woodlands)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
A Synergistic Use of a High-Resolution Numerical Weather Prediction Model and High-Resolution Earth Observation Products to Improve Precipitation Forecast
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2387; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202387 - 15 Oct 2019
Viewed by 172
Abstract
The Mediterranean region is frequently struck by severe rainfall events causing numerous casualties and several million euros of damages every year. Thus, improving the forecast accuracy is a fundamental goal to limit social and economic damages. Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models are currently [...] Read more.
The Mediterranean region is frequently struck by severe rainfall events causing numerous casualties and several million euros of damages every year. Thus, improving the forecast accuracy is a fundamental goal to limit social and economic damages. Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) models are currently able to produce forecasts at the km scale grid spacing but unreliable surface information and a poor knowledge of the initial state of the atmosphere may produce inaccurate simulations of weather phenomena. The STEAM (SaTellite Earth observation for Atmospheric Modelling) project aims to investigate whether Sentinel satellites constellation weather observation data, in combination with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations, can be used to better understand and predict with a higher spatio-temporal resolution the atmospheric phenomena resulting in severe weather events. Two heavy rainfall events that occurred in Italy in the autumn of 2017 are studied—a localized and short-lived event and a long-lived one. By assimilating a wide range of Sentinel and GNSS observations in a state-of-the-art NWP model, it is found that the forecasts benefit the most when the model is provided with information on the wind field and/or the water vapor content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Weather Forecasting and Modeling Using Satellite Data)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Vegetation Mapping by Using GPM/DPR over the Mongolian Land
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2386; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202386 - 15 Oct 2019
Viewed by 197
Abstract
Mongolian steppe is one of the largest and important ecosystems. The degradation of grassland and the expansion of desert are occurring due to drought and desertification processes. We attempted monitoring of the broad-scale vegetation in Mongolia by a space-borne precipitation radar, which may [...] Read more.
Mongolian steppe is one of the largest and important ecosystems. The degradation of grassland and the expansion of desert are occurring due to drought and desertification processes. We attempted monitoring of the broad-scale vegetation in Mongolia by a space-borne precipitation radar, which may complement typical approaches of vegetation monitoring (such as NDVI). We utilized the Global Precipitation Mission’s (GPM) dual-frequency precipitation radar (DPR). We characterized backscatter (σ0) of GPM/DPR’s two microwave bands (Ku and Ka) with respect to the dominant vegetation zones (forest, grassland, desert). Both Ku and Ka radars’ σ0 values were investigated for incidence angle dependency and the seasonal variation. As a result, the use of multi-angle, multi-band observations of GPM/DPR could help to characterize the vegetation zones. Especially, the σ0 at incidence angles between 1° and 8° represented useful characteristics of vegetation. Based on it, by using unsupervised clustering, we produced annual maps describing vegetation zones from 2014 to 2018. The result indicated that Mongolia experienced extensive changes in grassland and desert areas during the study years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
A GIS-Based Water Balance Approach Using a LiDAR-Derived DEM Captures Fine-Scale Vegetation Patterns
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2385; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202385 - 15 Oct 2019
Viewed by 182
Abstract
Topography exerts strong control on microclimate, resulting in distinctive vegetation patterns in areas of moderate to high relief. Using the Thornthwaite approach to account for hydrologic cycle components, a GIS-based Water Balance Toolset is presented as a means to address fine-scale species–site relationships. [...] Read more.
Topography exerts strong control on microclimate, resulting in distinctive vegetation patterns in areas of moderate to high relief. Using the Thornthwaite approach to account for hydrologic cycle components, a GIS-based Water Balance Toolset is presented as a means to address fine-scale species–site relationships. For each pixel within a study area, the toolset assesses inter-annual variations in moisture demand (governed by temperature and radiation) and availability (precipitation, soil storage). These in turn enable computation of climatic water deficit, the amount by which available moisture fails to meet demand. Summer deficit computed by the model correlates highly with the Standardized Precipitation–Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) for drought at several sites across the eastern U.S. Yet the strength of the approach is its ability to model fine-scale patterns. For a 25-ha study site in central Indiana, individual tree locations were linked to summer deficit under different historical conditions: using average monthly climatic variables for 1998–2017, and for the drought year of 2012. In addition, future baseline and drought-year projections were modeled based on downscaled GCM data for 2071–2100. Although small deficits are observed under average conditions (historical or future), strong patterns linked to topography emerge during drought years. The modeled moisture patterns capture vegetation distributions described for the region, with beech and maple preferentially occurring in low-deficit settings, and oak and hickory dominating more xeric positions. End-of-century projections suggest severe deficit, which should favor oak and hickory over more mesic species. Pockets of smaller deficit persist on the landscape, but only when a fine-resolution Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)-derived Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is used; a coarse-resolution DEM masks fine-scale variability and compresses the range of observed values. Identification of mesic habitat microrefugia has important implications for retreating species under altered climate. Using readily available data to evaluate fine-scale patterns of moisture demand and availability, the Water Balance Toolset provides a useful approach to explore species–environment linkages. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Assessing Multiple Years’ Spatial Variability of Crop Yields Using Satellite Vegetation Indices
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(20), 2384; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11202384 - 15 Oct 2019
Viewed by 139
Abstract
Assessing crop yield trends over years is a key step in site specific management, in view of improving the economic and environmental profile of agriculture. This study was conducted in a 11.07 ha area under Mediterranean climate in Northern Italy to evaluate the [...] Read more.
Assessing crop yield trends over years is a key step in site specific management, in view of improving the economic and environmental profile of agriculture. This study was conducted in a 11.07 ha area under Mediterranean climate in Northern Italy to evaluate the spatial variability and the relationships between six remotely sensed vegetation indices (VIs) and grain yield (GY) in five consecutive years. A total of 25 satellite (Landsat 5, 7, and 8) images were downloaded during crop growth to obtain the following VIs: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI), Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI), Green Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (GNDVI), Green Chlorophyll Index (GCI), and Simple Ratio (SR). The surveyed crops were durum wheat in 2010, sunflower in 2011, bread wheat in 2012 and 2014, and coriander in 2013. Geo-referenced GY and VI data were used to generate spatial trend maps across the experimental field through geostatistical analysis. Crop stages featuring the best correlations between VIs and GY at the same spatial resolution (30 m) were acknowledged as the best periods for GY prediction. Based on this, 2–4 VIs were selected each year, totalling 15 VIs in the five years with r values with GY between 0.729** and 0.935**. SR and NDVI were most frequently chosen (six and four times, respectively) across stages from mid vegetative to mid reproductive growth. Conversely, SAVI never had correlations high enough to be selected. Correspondence analysis between remote VIs and GY based on quantile ranking in the 126 (30 m size) pixels exhibited a final agreement between 64% and 86%. Therefore, Landsat imagery with its spatial and temporal resolution proved a good potential for estimating final GY over different crops in a rotation, at a relatively small field scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Previous Issue
Back to TopTop