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.
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