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Remote Sens., Volume 11, Issue 21 (November-1 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Uncertainties in the multi-decadal variability of the total solar irradiance (TSI) still persist [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
A Decentralized Processing Schema for Efficient and Robust Real-time Multi-GNSS Satellite Clock Estimation
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2595; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212595 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
Real-time multi-GNSS precise point positioning (PPP) requires the support of high-rate satellite clock corrections. Due to the large number of ambiguity parameters, it is difficult to update clocks at high frequency in real-time for a large reference network. With the increasing number of [...] Read more.
Real-time multi-GNSS precise point positioning (PPP) requires the support of high-rate satellite clock corrections. Due to the large number of ambiguity parameters, it is difficult to update clocks at high frequency in real-time for a large reference network. With the increasing number of satellites of multi-GNSS constellations and the number of stations, real-time high-rate clock estimation becomes a big challenge. In this contribution, we propose a decentralized clock estimation (DECE) strategy, in which both undifferenced (UD) and epoch-differenced (ED) mode are implemented but run separately in different computers, and their output clocks are combined in another process to generate a unique product. While redundant UD and/or ED processing lines can be run in offsite computers to improve the robustness, processing lines for different networks can also be included to improve the clock quality. The new strategy is realized based on the Position and Navigation Data Analyst (PANDA) software package and is experimentally validated with about 110 real-time stations for clock estimation by comparison of the estimated clocks and the PPP performance applying estimated clocks. The results of the real-time PPP experiment using 12 global stations show that with the greatly improved computational efficiency, 3.14 cm in horizontal and 5.51 cm in vertical can be achieved using the estimated DECE clock. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Navigation Satellite Systems for Earth Observing System)
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Open AccessArticle
A Machine Learning Approach to Crater Classification from Topographic Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2594; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212594 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
Craters contain important information on geological history and have been widely used for dating absolute age and reconstructing impact history. The impact process results in a lot of ejected fragments and these fragments may form secondary craters. Studies on distinguishing primary craters from [...] Read more.
Craters contain important information on geological history and have been widely used for dating absolute age and reconstructing impact history. The impact process results in a lot of ejected fragments and these fragments may form secondary craters. Studies on distinguishing primary craters from secondary craters are helpful in improving the accuracy of crater dating. However, previous studies about distinguishing primary craters from secondary craters were either conducted by manual identification or used approaches mainly concerning crater spatial distribution, which are time-consuming or have low accuracy. This paper presents a machine learning approach to distinguish primary craters from secondary craters. First, samples used for training and testing were identified and unified. The whole dataset contained 1032 primary craters and 4041 secondary craters. Then, considering the differences between primary and secondary craters, features mainly related to crater shape, depth, and density were calculated. Finally, a random forest classifier was trained and tested. This approach showed a favorable performance. The accuracy and F1-score for fivefold cross-validation were 0.939 and 0.839, respectively. The proposed machine learning approach enables an automated method of distinguishing primary craters from secondary craters, which results in better performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lunar Remote Sensing and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Semi-Coupled Convolutional Sparse Learning for Image Super-Resolution
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2593; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212593 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
In the convolutional sparse coding-based image super-resolution problem, the coefficients of low- and high-resolution images in the same position are assumed to be equivalent, which enforces an identical structure of low- and high-resolution images. However, in fact the structure of high-resolution images is [...] Read more.
In the convolutional sparse coding-based image super-resolution problem, the coefficients of low- and high-resolution images in the same position are assumed to be equivalent, which enforces an identical structure of low- and high-resolution images. However, in fact the structure of high-resolution images is much more complicated than that of low-resolution images. In order to reduce the coupling between low- and high-resolution representations, a semi-coupled convolutional sparse learning method (SCCSL) is proposed for image super-resolution. The proposed method uses nonlinear convolution operations as the mapping function between low- and high-resolution features, and conventional linear mapping can be seen as a special case of the proposed method. Secondly, the neighborhoods within the filter size are used to calculate the current pixel, improving the flexibility of our proposed model. In addition, the filter size is adjustable. In order to illustrate the effectiveness of SCCSL method, we compare it with four state-of-the-art methods of 15 commonly used images. Experimental results show that this work provides a more flexible and efficient approach for image super-resolution problem. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
InSAR Time Series Analysis of L-Band Data for Understanding Tropical Peatland Degradation and Restoration
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2592; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212592 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
In this study, satellite radar observations are employed to reveal spatiotemporal changes in ground surface height of peatlands that have, and have not, undergone restoration in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Our time series analysis of 26 scenes of Advanced Land Observation Satellite-1 (ALOS-1) Phased-Array [...] Read more.
In this study, satellite radar observations are employed to reveal spatiotemporal changes in ground surface height of peatlands that have, and have not, undergone restoration in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Our time series analysis of 26 scenes of Advanced Land Observation Satellite-1 (ALOS-1) Phased-Array L-band Synthetic-Aperture Radar (PALSAR) images acquired between 2006 and 2010 suggests that peatland restoration was positively affected by the construction time of dams—the earlier the dam was constructed, the more significant the restoration appears. The results also suggest that the dams resulted in an increase of ground water level, which in turn stopped peat losing height. For peatland areas without restoration, the peatland continuously lost peat height by up to 7.7 cm/yr. InSAR-derived peat height changes allow the investigation of restoration effects over a wide area and can also be used to indirectly assess the relative magnitude and spatial pattern of peatland damage caused by drainage and fires. Such an assessment can provide key information for guiding future restoration activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Peatlands II)
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Open AccessArticle
High-Quality Cloud Masking of Landsat 8 Imagery Using Convolutional Neural Networks
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2591; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212591 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
The Landsat record represents an amazing resource for discovering land-cover changes and monitoring the Earth’s surface. However, making the most use of the available data, especially for automated applications ingesting thousands of images without human intervention, requires a robust screening of cloud and [...] Read more.
The Landsat record represents an amazing resource for discovering land-cover changes and monitoring the Earth’s surface. However, making the most use of the available data, especially for automated applications ingesting thousands of images without human intervention, requires a robust screening of cloud and cloud-shadow, which contaminate clear views of the land surface. We constructed a deep convolutional neural network (CNN) model to semantically segment Landsat 8 images into regions labeled clear-sky, clouds, cloud-shadow, water, and snow/ice. For training, we constructed a global, hand-labeled dataset of Landsat 8 imagery; this labor-intensive process resulted in the uniquely high-quality dataset needed for the creation of a high-quality model. The CNN model achieves results on par with the ability of human interpreters, with a total accuracy of 97.1%, omitting only 3.5% of cloud pixels and 4.8% of cloud shadow pixels, which is seven to eight times fewer missed pixels than the masks distributed with the imagery. By harnessing the power of advanced tensor processing units, the classification of full images is I/O bound, making this approach a feasible method to generate masks for the entire Landsat 8 archive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing Image Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis) Mapping with Details: Smallholder versus Industrial Plantations and their Extent in Riau, Sumatra
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2590; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212590 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
Oil palm is rapidly expanding in Southeast Asia and represents one of the major drivers of deforestation in the region. This includes both industrial-scale and smallholder plantations, the management of which entails specific challenges, with either operational scale having its own particular social [...] Read more.
Oil palm is rapidly expanding in Southeast Asia and represents one of the major drivers of deforestation in the region. This includes both industrial-scale and smallholder plantations, the management of which entails specific challenges, with either operational scale having its own particular social and environmental challenges. Although, past studies addressed the mapping of oil palm with remote sensing data, none of these studies considered the discrimination between industrial and smallholder plantations and, furthermore, between young and mature oil palm stands. This study assesses the feasibility of mapping oil palm plantations, by typology (industrial versus smallholder) and age (young versus mature), in the largest palm oil producing region of Indonesia (Riau province). The impact of using optical images (Sentinel-2) and radar scenes (Sentinel-1) in a Random Forest classification model was investigated. The classification model was implemented in a cloud computing system to map the oil palm plantations of Riau province. Our results show that the mapping of oil palm plantations by typology and age requires a set of optimal features, derived from optical and radar data, to obtain the best model performance (OA = 90.2% and kappa = 87.2%). These features are texture images that capture contextual information, such as the dense harvesting trail network in industrial plantations. The study also shows that the mapping of mature oil palm trees, without distinction between smallholder and industrial plantations, can be done with high accuracy using only Sentinel-1 data (OA = 93.5% and kappa = 86.9%) because of the characteristic backscatter response of palm-like trees in radar scenes. This means that researchers, certification bodies, and stakeholders can adequately detect mature oil palm stands over large regions without training complex classification models and with Sentinel-1 features as the only predictive variables. The results over Riau province show that smallholders represent 49.9% of total oil palm plantations, which is higher than reported in previous studies. This study is an important step towards a global map of oil palm plantations at different production scales and stand ages that can frequently be updated. Resulting insights would facilitate a more informed debate about optimizing land use for meeting global vegetable oil demands from oil palm and other oil crops. Full article
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Open AccessLetter
Distinguishing Photosynthetic and Non-Photosynthetic Vegetation: How Do Traditional Observations and Spectral Classification Compare?
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2589; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212589 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
Remotely sensed ground cover maps are routinely validated using field data collected by observers who classify ground cover into defined categories such as photosynthetic vegetation (PV), non-photosynthetic vegetation (NPV), bare soil (BS), and rock. There is an element of subjectivity to the classification [...] Read more.
Remotely sensed ground cover maps are routinely validated using field data collected by observers who classify ground cover into defined categories such as photosynthetic vegetation (PV), non-photosynthetic vegetation (NPV), bare soil (BS), and rock. There is an element of subjectivity to the classification of PV and NPV, and classifications may differ between observers. An alternative is to estimate ground cover based on in situ hyperspectral reflectance measurements (HRM). This study examines observer consistency when classifying vegetation samples of wheat (Triticum aestivum var. Gladius) covering the full range of photosynthetic activity, from completely senesced (0% PV) to completely green (100% PV), as photosynthetic or non-photosynthetic. We also examine how the classification of spectra of the same vegetation samples compares to the observer results. We collected HRM and photographs, over two months, to capture the transition of wheat leaves from 100% PV to 100% NPV. To simulate typical field methodology, observers viewed the photographs and classified each leaf as either PV or NPV, while spectral unmixing was used to decompose the HRM of the leaves into proportions of PV and NPV. The results showed that when a leaf was ≤25% or ≥75% PV observers tended to agree, and assign the leaf to the expected category. However, as leaves transitioned from PV to NPV (i.e., PV ≥ 25% but ≤ 75%) observers’ decisions differed more widely and their classifications showed little agreement with the spectral proportions of PV and NPV. This has significant implications for the reliability of data collected using binary methods in areas containing a significant proportion of vegetation in this intermediate range such as the over/underestimation of PV and NPV vegetation and how reliably this data can then be used to validate remotely sensed products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Climatologies of Average Monthly Air Temperature over Mongolia Using MODIS Land Surface Temperature (LST) Time Series and Machine Learning Techniques
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2588; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212588 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
The objective of this research was to develop a robust statistical model to estimate climatologies (2002–2017) of monthly average near-surface air temperature (Ta) over Mongolia using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface temperature (LST) time series products and terrain parameters. Two regression [...] Read more.
The objective of this research was to develop a robust statistical model to estimate climatologies (2002–2017) of monthly average near-surface air temperature (Ta) over Mongolia using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) land surface temperature (LST) time series products and terrain parameters. Two regression models were analyzed in this study linking automatic weather station data (Ta) with Earth observation (EO) images: Partial least squares (PLS) and random forest (RF). Both models were trained to predict Ta climatologies for each of the twelve months, using up to 17 variables as predictors. The models were applied to the entire land surface of Mongolia, the eighteenth largest but most sparsely populated country in the world. Twelve of the predictor variables were derived from the LST time series products of the Terra MODIS satellite. The LST MOD11A2 (collection 6) products provided thermal information at a spatial resolution of 1 km and with 8-day temporal resolution from 2002 to 2017. Three terrain variables, namely, elevation, slope, and aspect, were extracted using a Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) digital elevation model (DEM), and two variables describing the geographical location of weather stations were extracted from vector data. For training, a total of 8544 meteorological data points from 63 automatic weather stations were used covering the same period as MODIS LST products. The PLS regression resulted in a coefficient of determination (R2) between 0.74 and 0.87 and a root-mean-square error (RMSE) from 1.20 °C to 2.19 °C between measured and estimated monthly Ta. The non-linear RF regression yielded even more accurate results with R2 in the range from 0.82 to 0.95 and RMSE from 0.84 °C to 1.93 °C. Using RF, the two best modeled months were July and August and the two worst months were January and February. The four most predictive variables were day/nighttime LST, elevation, and latitude. Using the developed RF models, spatial maps of the monthly average Ta at a spatial resolution of 1 km were generated for Mongolia (~1566 × 106 km2). This spatial dataset might be useful for various environmental applications. The method is transparent and relatively easy to implement. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Precise Orbit Determination for BeiDou GEO/IGSO Satellites during Orbit Maneuvering with Pseudo-Stochastic Pulses
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2587; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212587 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
In order to provide better service for the Asia-Pacific region, the BeiDou navigation satellite system (BDS) is designed as a constellation containing medium earth orbit (MEO), geostationary earth orbit (GEO), and inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO). However, the multi-orbit configuration brings great challenges for [...] Read more.
In order to provide better service for the Asia-Pacific region, the BeiDou navigation satellite system (BDS) is designed as a constellation containing medium earth orbit (MEO), geostationary earth orbit (GEO), and inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO). However, the multi-orbit configuration brings great challenges for orbit determination. When orbit maneuvering, the orbital elements of the maneuvered satellites from broadcast ephemeris are unusable for several hours, which makes it difficult to estimate the initial orbit in the process of precise orbit determination. In addition, the maneuvered force information is unknown, which brings systematic orbit integral errors. In order to avoid these errors, observation data are removed from the iterative adjustment. For the above reasons, the precise orbit products of maneuvered satellites are missing from IGS (international GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) service) and iGMAS (international GNSS monitoring and assessment system). This study proposes a method to determine the precise orbits of maneuvered satellites for BeiDou GEO and IGSO. The initial orbits of maneuvered satellites could be backward forecasted according to the precise orbit products. The systematic errors caused by unmodeled maneuvered force are absorbed by estimated pseudo-stochastic pulses. The proposed method for determining the precise orbits of maneuvered satellites is validated by analyzing data of stations from the Multi-GNSS Experiment (MGEX). The results show that the precise orbits of maneuvered satellites can be estimated correctly when orbit maneuvering, which could supplement the precise products from the analysis centers of IGS and iGMAS. It can significantly improve the integrality and continuity of the precise products and subsequently provide better precise products for users. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Navigation Satellite Systems for Earth Observing System)
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Open AccessArticle
Attention Graph Convolution Network for Image Segmentation in Big SAR Imagery Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2586; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212586 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
The recent emergence of high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images leads to massive amounts of data. In order to segment these big remotely sensed data in an acceptable time frame, more and more segmentation algorithms based on deep learning attempt to take superpixels [...] Read more.
The recent emergence of high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images leads to massive amounts of data. In order to segment these big remotely sensed data in an acceptable time frame, more and more segmentation algorithms based on deep learning attempt to take superpixels as processing units. However, the over-segmented images become non-Euclidean structure data that traditional deep Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) cannot directly process. Here, we propose a novel Attention Graph Convolution Network (AGCN) to perform superpixel-wise segmentation in big SAR imagery data. AGCN consists of an attention mechanism layer and Graph Convolution Networks (GCN). GCN can operate on graph-structure data by generalizing convolutions to the graph domain and have been successfully applied in tasks such as node classification. The attention mechanism layer is introduced to guide the graph convolution layers to focus on the most relevant nodes in order to make decisions by specifying different coefficients to different nodes in a neighbourhood. The attention layer is located before the convolution layers, and noisy information from the neighbouring nodes has less negative influence on the attention coefficients. Quantified experiments on two airborne SAR image datasets prove that the proposed method outperforms the other state-of-the-art segmentation approaches. Its computation time is also far less than the current mainstream pixel-level semantic segmentation networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data Analytics for Secure and Smart Environmental Services)
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Open AccessArticle
Automated Detection of Conifer Seedlings in Drone Imagery Using Convolutional Neural Networks
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2585; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212585 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
Monitoring tree regeneration in forest areas disturbed by resource extraction is a requirement for sustainably managing the boreal forest of Alberta, Canada. Small remotely piloted aircraft systems (sRPAS, a.k.a. drones) have the potential to decrease the cost of field surveys drastically, but produce [...] Read more.
Monitoring tree regeneration in forest areas disturbed by resource extraction is a requirement for sustainably managing the boreal forest of Alberta, Canada. Small remotely piloted aircraft systems (sRPAS, a.k.a. drones) have the potential to decrease the cost of field surveys drastically, but produce large quantities of data that will require specialized processing techniques. In this study, we explored the possibility of using convolutional neural networks (CNNs) on this data for automatically detecting conifer seedlings along recovering seismic lines: a common legacy footprint from oil and gas exploration. We assessed three different CNN architectures, of which faster region-CNN (R-CNN) performed best (mean average precision 81%). Furthermore, we evaluated the effects of training-set size, season, seedling size, and spatial resolution on the detection performance. Our results indicate that drone imagery analyzed by artificial intelligence can be used to detect conifer seedling in regenerating sites with high accuracy, which increases with the size in pixels of the seedlings. By using a pre-trained network, the size of the training dataset can be reduced to a couple hundred seedlings without any significant loss of accuracy. Furthermore, we show that combining data from different seasons yields the best results. The proposed method is a first step towards automated monitoring of forest restoration/regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Individual Tree Detection and Characterisation from UAV Data)
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Open AccessArticle
A Mutiscale Residual Attention Network for Multitask Learning of Human Activity Using Radar Micro-Doppler Signatures
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2584; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212584 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
Short-range radar has become one of the latest sensor technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT), and it plays an increasingly vital role in IoT applications. As the essential task for various smart-sensing applications, radar-based human activity recognition and person identification have received [...] Read more.
Short-range radar has become one of the latest sensor technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT), and it plays an increasingly vital role in IoT applications. As the essential task for various smart-sensing applications, radar-based human activity recognition and person identification have received more attention due to radar’s robustness to the environment and low power consumption. Activity recognition and person identification are generally treated as separate problems. However, designing different networks for these two tasks brings a high computational complexity and wastes of resources to some extent. Furthermore, there are some correlations in activity recognition and person identification tasks. In this work, we propose a multiscale residual attention network (MRA-Net) for joint activity recognition and person identification with radar micro-Doppler signatures. A fine-grained loss weight learning (FLWL) mechanism is presented for elaborating a multitask loss to optimize MRA-Net. In addition, we construct a new radar micro-Doppler dataset with dual labels of activity and identity. With the proposed model trained on this dataset, we demonstrate that our method achieves the state-of-the-art performance in both radar-based activity recognition and person identification tasks. The impact of the FLWL mechanism was further investigated, and ablation studies of the efficacy of each component in MRA-Net were also conducted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Remote Sensing on Life Activities)
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Open AccessArticle
Fuzzy Object-Based Image Analysis Methods Using Sentinel-2A and Landsat-8 Data to Map and Characterize Soil Surface Residue
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2583; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212583 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
Soil degradation, defined as the lowering and loss of soil functions, is becoming a serious problem worldwide and threatens agricultural production and terrestrial ecosystems. The surface residue of crops is one of the most effective erosion control measures and it increases the soil [...] Read more.
Soil degradation, defined as the lowering and loss of soil functions, is becoming a serious problem worldwide and threatens agricultural production and terrestrial ecosystems. The surface residue of crops is one of the most effective erosion control measures and it increases the soil moisture content. In some areas of the world, the management of soil surface residue (SSR) is crucial for increasing soil fertility, maintaining high soil carbon levels, and reducing the degradation of soil due to rain and wind erosion. Standard methods of measuring the residue cover are time and labor intensive, but remote sensing can support the monitoring of conservation tillage practices applied to large fields. We investigated the potential of per-pixel and object-based image analysis (OBIA) for detecting and estimating the coverage of SSRs after tillage and planting practices for agricultural research fields in Iran using tillage indices for Landsat-8 and novel indices for Sentinel-2A. For validation, SSR was measured in the field through line transects at the beginning of the agricultural season (prior to autumn crop planting). Per-pixel approaches for Landsat-8 satellite images using normalized difference tillage index (NDTI) and simple tillage index (STI) yielded coefficient of determination (R2) values of 0.727 and 0.722, respectively. We developed comparable novel indices for Sentinel-2A satellite data that yielded R2 values of 0.760 and 0.759 for NDTI and STI, respectively, which means that the Sentinel data better matched the ground truth data. We tested several OBIA methods and achieved very high overall accuracies of up to 0.948 for Sentinel-2A and 0.891 for Landsat-8 with a membership function method. The OBIA methods clearly outperformed per-pixel approaches in estimating SSR and bear the potential to substitute or complement ground-based techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Sustainable Agriculture and Smart Farming)
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Open AccessArticle
MODIS-Satellite-Based Analysis of Long-Term Temporal-Spatial Dynamics and Drivers of Algal Blooms in a Plateau Lake Dianchi, China
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2582; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212582 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
Algal blooms in eutrophic lakes have been a global issue to environmental ecology. Although great progress on prevention and control of algae have been made in many lakes, systematic research on long-term temporal-spatial dynamics and drivers of algal blooms in a plateau Lake [...] Read more.
Algal blooms in eutrophic lakes have been a global issue to environmental ecology. Although great progress on prevention and control of algae have been made in many lakes, systematic research on long-term temporal-spatial dynamics and drivers of algal blooms in a plateau Lake Dianchi is so far insufficient. Therefore, the algae pixel-growing algorithm (APA) was used to accurately identify algal bloom areas at the sub-pixel level on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data from 2000 to 2018. The results showed that algal blooms were observed all year round, with a reduced frequency in winter–spring and an increased frequency in summer–autumn, which lasted a long time for about 310–350 days. The outbreak areas were concentrated in 20–80 km2 and the top three largest areas were observed in 2002, 2008, and 2017, reaching 168.80 km2, 126.51 km2, and 156.34 km2, respectively. After deriving the temporal-spatial distribution of algal blooms, principal component analysis (PCA) and redundancy analysis (RDA) were applied to explore the effects of meteorological, water quality and human activities. Of the variables analyzed, mean temperature (Tmean) and wind speed (WS) were the main drivers of daily algal bloom areas and spatial distribution. The precipitation (P), pH, and water temperature (WT) had a strong positive correlation, while WS and sunshine hours (SH) had a negative correlation with monthly maximum algal bloom areas and frequency. Total nitrogen (TN) and dissolved oxygen (DO) were the main influencing factors of annual frequency, initiation, and duration of algal blooms. Also, the discharge of wastewater and the southwest and southeast monsoons may contribute to the distribution of algal blooms mainly in the north of the lake. However, different regions of the lake show substantial variations, so further zoning and quantitative joint studies of influencing factors are required to more accurately understand the true mechanisms of algae in Lake Dianchi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Operational Ecosystem Monitoring Applications from Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring and Assessment of Wetland Loss and Fragmentation in the Cross-Boundary Protected Area: A Case Study of Wusuli River Basin
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2581; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212581 - 03 Nov 2019
Abstract
Comparative evaluation of cross-boundary wetland protected areas is essential to underpin knowledge-based bilateral conservation policies and funding decisions by governments and managers. In this paper, wetland change monitoring for the Wusuli River Basin in the cross-boundary zone of China and Russia from 1990 [...] Read more.
Comparative evaluation of cross-boundary wetland protected areas is essential to underpin knowledge-based bilateral conservation policies and funding decisions by governments and managers. In this paper, wetland change monitoring for the Wusuli River Basin in the cross-boundary zone of China and Russia from 1990 to 2015 was quantitatively analyzed using Landsat images. The spatial-temporal distribution of wetlands was identified using a rule-based object-oriented classification method. Wetland dynamics were determined by combining annual land change area (ALCA), annual land change rate (ALCR), landscape metrics and spatial analysis in a geographic information system (GIS). A Mann–Kendall test was used to evaluate changing climate trends. Results showed that natural wetlands in the Wusuli River Basin have declined by 5625.76 km2 in the past 25 years, especially swamp/marsh, which decreased by 26.88%. Specifically, natural wetlands declined by 49.93% in the Chinese section but increased with an ALCA of 16.62 km2/y in the Russian section during 1990–2015. Agricultural encroachment was the most important reason for the loss and degradation of natural wetlands in the Wusuli River Basin, especially in China. Different population change trends and conservation policies in China and Russia affected natural wetland dynamics. The research offers an efficient and effective method to evaluate cross-boundary wetland change. This study provides important scientific information necessary for developing future ecological conservation and management of cross-boundary wetlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications in Monitoring of Protected Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
A Prior Estimation of the Spatial Distribution Parameter of Soil Moisture Storage Capacity Using Satellite-Based Root-Zone Soil Moisture Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2580; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212580 - 03 Nov 2019
Abstract
Integration of satellite-based data with hydrological modelling was generally conducted via data assimilation or model calibration, and both approaches can enhance streamflow predictions. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of another approach that uses satellite-based soil moisture data to directly estimate the [...] Read more.
Integration of satellite-based data with hydrological modelling was generally conducted via data assimilation or model calibration, and both approaches can enhance streamflow predictions. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of another approach that uses satellite-based soil moisture data to directly estimate the parameter β to represent the degree of the spatial distribution of soil moisture storage capacity in the semi-distributed Hymod model. The impact of using historical root-zone soil moisture data from the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission on the prior estimation of the parameter β was explored. Two different ways to incorporate the root-zone soil moisture data to estimate the parameter β are proposed, i.e., one is to derive a priori distribution of β , and the other is to derive a fixed value for β . The simulations of the Hymod models employing the two ways to estimate β are compared with the results produced by the original model, i.e., the one without employing satellite-based data to estimate the parameter β , at three study catchments (the Upper Hanjiang River catchment, the Xiangjiang River catchment, and the Ganjiang River catchment). The results illustrate that the two ways to incorporate the SMAP root-zone soil moisture data in order to predetermine the parameter β of the semi-distributed Hymod model both perform well in simulating streamflow during the calibration period, and a slight improvement was found during the validation period. Notably, deriving a fixed β value from satellite soil moisture data can provide better performance for ungauged catchments despite reducing the model freedom degrees due to fixing the β value. It is concluded that the robustness of the Hymod model in predicting the streamflow can be improved when the spatial information of satellite-based soil moisture data is utilized to estimate the parameter β . Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microwave Remote Sensing for Hydrology)
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Open AccessArticle
A Comparative Analysis of Phytovolume Estimation Methods Based on UAV-Photogrammetry and Multispectral Imagery in a Mediterranean Forest
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2579; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212579 - 03 Nov 2019
Abstract
Management and control operations are crucial for preventing forest fires, especially in Mediterranean forest areas with dry climatic periods. One of them is prescribed fires, in which the biomass fuel present in the controlled plot area must be accurately estimated. The most used [...] Read more.
Management and control operations are crucial for preventing forest fires, especially in Mediterranean forest areas with dry climatic periods. One of them is prescribed fires, in which the biomass fuel present in the controlled plot area must be accurately estimated. The most used methods for estimating biomass are time-consuming and demand too much manpower. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) carrying multispectral sensors can be used to carry out accurate indirect measurements of terrain and vegetation morphology and their radiometric characteristics. Based on the UAV-photogrammetric project products, four estimators of phytovolume were compared in a Mediterranean forest area, all obtained using the difference between a digital surface model (DSM) and a digital terrain model (DTM). The DSM was derived from a UAV-photogrammetric project based on the structure from a motion algorithm. Four different methods for obtaining a DTM were used based on an unclassified dense point cloud produced through a UAV-photogrammetric project (FFU), an unsupervised classified dense point cloud (FFC), a multispectral vegetation index (FMI), and a cloth simulation filter (FCS). Qualitative and quantitative comparisons determined the ability of the phytovolume estimators for vegetation detection and occupied volume. The results show that there are no significant differences in surface vegetation detection between all the pairwise possible comparisons of the four estimators at a 95% confidence level, but FMI presented the best kappa value (0.678) in an error matrix analysis with reference data obtained from photointerpretation and supervised classification. Concerning the accuracy of phytovolume estimation, only FFU and FFC presented differences higher than two standard deviations in a pairwise comparison, and FMI presented the best RMSE (12.3 m) when the estimators were compared to 768 observed data points grouped in four 500 m2 sample plots. The FMI was the best phytovolume estimator of the four compared for low vegetation height in a Mediterranean forest. The use of FMI based on UAV data provides accurate phytovolume estimations that can be applied on several environment management activities, including wildfire prevention. Multitemporal phytovolume estimations based on FMI could help to model the forest resources evolution in a very realistic way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biomass and Carbon Observation with Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Super-Resolution of Remote Sensing Images via a Dense Residual Generative Adversarial Network
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2578; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212578 - 03 Nov 2019
Abstract
Single image super-resolution (SISR) has been widely studied in recent years as a crucial technique for remote sensing applications. In this paper, a dense residual generative adversarial network (DRGAN)-based SISR method is proposed to promote the resolution of remote sensing images. Different from [...] Read more.
Single image super-resolution (SISR) has been widely studied in recent years as a crucial technique for remote sensing applications. In this paper, a dense residual generative adversarial network (DRGAN)-based SISR method is proposed to promote the resolution of remote sensing images. Different from previous super-resolution (SR) approaches based on generative adversarial networks (GANs), the novelty of our method mainly lies in the following factors. First, we made a breakthrough in terms of network architecture to improve performance. We designed a dense residual network as the generative network in GAN, which can make full use of the hierarchical features from low-resolution (LR) images. We also introduced a contiguous memory mechanism into the network to take advantage of the dense residual block. Second, we modified the loss function and altered the model of the discriminative network according to the Wasserstein GAN with a gradient penalty (WGAN-GP) for stable training. Extensive experiments were performed using the NWPU-RESISC45 dataset, and the results demonstrated that the proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art methods in terms of both objective evaluation and subjective perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Super-Resolution in Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Proposing a Novel Predictive Technique for Gully Erosion Susceptibility Mapping in Arid and Semi-arid Regions (Iran)
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2577; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212577 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Gully erosion is considered to be one of the main causes of land degradation in arid and semi-arid territories around the world. In this research, gully erosion susceptibility mapping was carried out in Semnan province (Iran) as a case study in which we [...] Read more.
Gully erosion is considered to be one of the main causes of land degradation in arid and semi-arid territories around the world. In this research, gully erosion susceptibility mapping was carried out in Semnan province (Iran) as a case study in which we tested the efficiency of the index of entropy (IoE), the Vlse Kriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje (VIKOR) method, and their combination. Remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) were used to reduce the time and costs needed for rapid assessment of gully erosion. Firstly, a gully erosion inventory map (GEIM) with 206 gully locations was obtained from various sources and randomly divided into two groups: A training dataset (70% of the data) and a validation dataset (30% of the data). Fifteen gully-related conditioning factors (GRCFs) including elevation, slope, aspect, plan curvature, stream power index, topographical wetness index, rainfall, soil type, drainage density, distance to river, distance to road, distance to fault, lithology, land use/land cover, and soil type, were used for modeling. The advanced land observing satellite (ALOS) digital elevation model with a spatial resolution of 30 m was used for the extraction of the above-mentioned topographic factors. The tolerance (TOL) and variance inflation factor (VIF) were also included for checking the multicollinearity among the GRCFs. Based on IoE, we concluded that soil type, lithology, and elevation were the most significant in terms of gully formation. Validation results using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) showed that IoE (0.941) reached a higher prediction accuracy than VIKOR (0.857) and VIKOR-IoE (0.868). Based on our results, the combination of statistical (IoE) models along with remote sensing and GIS can convert the multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) models into efficient and powerful tools for gully erosion prediction. We strongly suggest that decision-makers and managers should use these kinds of results to develop more consistent solutions to achieve sustainable development on degraded lands such as in the Semnan province. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Soil Erosion)
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Open AccessArticle
The Seamless Solar Radiation (SESORA) Forecast for Solar Surface Irradiance—Method and Validation
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2576; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212576 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Due to the integration of fluctuating weather-dependent energy sources into the grid, the importance of weather and power forecasts grows constantly. This paper describes the implementation of a short-term forecast of solar surface irradiance named SESORA (seamless solar radiation). It is based on [...] Read more.
Due to the integration of fluctuating weather-dependent energy sources into the grid, the importance of weather and power forecasts grows constantly. This paper describes the implementation of a short-term forecast of solar surface irradiance named SESORA (seamless solar radiation). It is based on the the optical flow of effective cloud albedo and available for Germany and parts of Europe. After the clouds are shifted by applying cloud motion vectors, solar radiation is calculated with SPECMAGIC NOW (Spectrally Resolved Mesoscale Atmospheric Global Irradiance Code), which computes the global irradiation spectrally resolved from satellite imagery. Due to the high spatial and temporal resolution of satellite measurements, solar radiation can be forecasted from 15 min up to 4 h or more with a spatial resolution of 0.05 . An extensive validation of this short-term forecast is presented in this study containing two different validations based on either area or stations. The results are very promising as the mean RMSE (Root Mean Square Error) of this study equals 59 W/m 2 (absolute bias = 42 W/m 2 ) after 15 min, reaches its maximum of 142 W/m 2 (absolute bias = 97 W/m 2 ) after 165 min, and slowly decreases after that due to the setting of the sun. After a brief description of the method itself and the method of the validation the results will be presented and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Energy Meteorology)
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Open AccessArticle
Landslide Detection Using Multi-Scale Image Segmentation and Different Machine Learning Models in the Higher Himalayas
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2575; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212575 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Landslides represent a severe hazard in many areas of the world. Accurate landslide maps are needed to document the occurrence and extent of landslides and to investigate their distribution, types, and the pattern of slope failures. Landslide maps are also crucial for determining [...] Read more.
Landslides represent a severe hazard in many areas of the world. Accurate landslide maps are needed to document the occurrence and extent of landslides and to investigate their distribution, types, and the pattern of slope failures. Landslide maps are also crucial for determining landslide susceptibility and risk. Satellite data have been widely used for such investigations—next to data from airborne or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-borne campaigns and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). We have developed a methodology that incorporates object-based image analysis (OBIA) with three machine learning (ML) methods, namely, the multilayer perceptron neural network (MLP-NN) and random forest (RF), for landslide detection. We identified the optimal scale parameters (SP) and used them for multi-scale segmentation and further analysis. We evaluated the resulting objects using the object pureness index (OPI), object matching index (OMI), and object fitness index (OFI) measures. We then applied two different methods to optimize the landslide detection task: (a) an ensemble method of stacking that combines the different ML methods for improving the performance, and (b) Dempster–Shafer theory (DST), to combine the multi-scale segmentation and classification results. Through the combination of three ML methods and the multi-scale approach, the framework enhanced landslide detection when it was tested for detecting earthquake-triggered landslides in Rasuwa district, Nepal. PlanetScope optical satellite images and a DEM were used, along with the derived landslide conditioning factors. Different accuracy assessment measures were used to compare the results against a field-based landslide inventory. All ML methods yielded the highest overall accuracies ranging from 83.3% to 87.2% when using objects with the optimal SP compared to other SPs. However, applying DST to combine the multi-scale results of each ML method significantly increased the overall accuracies to almost 90%. Overall, the integration of OBIA with ML methods resulted in appropriate landslide detections, but using the optimal SP and ML method is crucial for success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mass Movement and Soil Erosion Monitoring Using Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Pixel Tracking to Estimate Rivers Water Flow Elevation Using Cosmo-SkyMed Synthetic Aperture Radar Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2574; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212574 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
The lack of availability of historical and reliable river water level information is an issue that can be overcome through the exploitation of modern satellite remote sensing systems. This research has the objective of contributing in solving the information-gap problem of river flow [...] Read more.
The lack of availability of historical and reliable river water level information is an issue that can be overcome through the exploitation of modern satellite remote sensing systems. This research has the objective of contributing in solving the information-gap problem of river flow monitoring through a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) signal processing technique that has the capability to perform water flow elevation estimation. This paper proposes the application of a new method for the design of a robust procedure to track over the time double-bounce reflections from bridges crossing rivers to measure the gap space existing between the river surface and bridges. Specifically, the difference in position between the single and double bounce is suitably measured over the time. Simulated and satellite temporal series of SAR data from COSMO-SkyMed data are compared to the ground measurements recorded for three gauges sites over the Po and Tiber Rivers, Italy. The obtained performance indices confirm the effectiveness of the method in the estimation of water level also in narrow or ungauged rivers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Target Object Detection and Identification)
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Open AccessArticle
Sentinel-2 Validation for Spatial Variability Assessment in Overhead Trellis System Viticulture Versus UAV and Agronomic Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2573; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212573 - 02 Nov 2019
Abstract
Several remote sensing technologies have been tested in precision viticulture to characterize vineyard spatial variability, from traditional aircraft and satellite platforms to recent unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Imagery processing is still a challenge due to the traditional row-based architecture, where the inter-row soil [...] Read more.
Several remote sensing technologies have been tested in precision viticulture to characterize vineyard spatial variability, from traditional aircraft and satellite platforms to recent unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Imagery processing is still a challenge due to the traditional row-based architecture, where the inter-row soil provides a high to full presence of mixed pixels. In this case, UAV images combined with filtering techniques represent the solution to analyze pure canopy pixels and were used to benchmark the effectiveness of Sentinel-2 (S2) performance in overhead training systems. At harvest time, UAV filtered and unfiltered images and ground sampling data were used to validate the correlation between the S2 normalized difference vegetation indices (NDVIs) with vegetative and productive parameters in two vineyards (V1 and V2). Regarding the UAV vs. S2 NDVI comparison, in both vineyards, satellite data showed a high correlation both with UAV unfiltered and filtered images (V1 R2 = 0.80 and V2 R2 = 0.60 mean values). Ground data and remote sensing platform NDVIs correlation were strong for yield and biomass in both vineyards (R2 from 0.60 to 0.95). These results demonstrate the effectiveness of spatial resolution provided by S2 on overhead trellis system viticulture, promoting precision viticulture also within areas that are currently managed without the support of innovative technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Viticulture)
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Open AccessArticle
A High-Accuracy Indoor-Positioning Method with Automated RGB-D Image Database Construction
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2572; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212572 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
High-accuracy indoor positioning is a prerequisite to satisfy the increasing demands of position-based services in complex indoor scenes. Current indoor visual-positioning methods mainly include image retrieval-based methods, visual landmarks-based methods, and learning-based methods. To better overcome the limitations of traditional methods such as [...] Read more.
High-accuracy indoor positioning is a prerequisite to satisfy the increasing demands of position-based services in complex indoor scenes. Current indoor visual-positioning methods mainly include image retrieval-based methods, visual landmarks-based methods, and learning-based methods. To better overcome the limitations of traditional methods such as them being labor-intensive, of poor accuracy, and time-consuming, this paper proposes a novel indoor-positioning method with automated red, green, blue and depth (RGB-D) image database construction. First, strategies for automated database construction are developed to reduce the workload of manually selecting database images and ensure the requirements of high-accuracy indoor positioning. The database is automatically constructed according to the rules, which is more objective and improves the efficiency of the image-retrieval process. Second, by combining the automated database construction module, convolutional neural network (CNN)-based image-retrieval module, and strict geometric relations-based pose estimation module, we obtain a high-accuracy indoor-positioning system. Furthermore, in order to verify the proposed method, we conducted extensive experiments on the public indoor environment dataset. The detailed experimental results demonstrated the effectiveness and efficiency of our indoor-positioning method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mobile Mapping Technologies)
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Open AccessArticle
An Accurate Method to Distinguish Between Stationary Human and Dog Targets Under Through-Wall Condition Using UWB Radar
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2571; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212571 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
Research work on distinguishing humans from animals can help provide priority orders and optimize the distribution of resources in earthquake- or mining-related rescue missions. However, the existing solutions are few and their stability and accuracy of classification are less. This study proposes an [...] Read more.
Research work on distinguishing humans from animals can help provide priority orders and optimize the distribution of resources in earthquake- or mining-related rescue missions. However, the existing solutions are few and their stability and accuracy of classification are less. This study proposes an accurate method for distinguishing stationary human targets from dog targets under through-wall condition based on ultra-wideband (UWB) radar. Eight humans and five beagles were used to collect 130 samples of through-wall signals using the UWB radar. Twelve corresponding features belonging to four categories were combined using the support vector machine (SVM) method. A recursive feature elimination (RFE) method determined an optimal feature subset from the twelve features to overcome overfitting and poor generalization. The results after ten-fold cross-validation showed that the area under the receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curve can reach 0.9993, which indicates that the two subjects can be distinguished under through-wall condition. The study also compared the ability of the proposed features of four categories when used independently in a classifier. Comparison results indicated that wavelet entropy-corresponding features among them have the best performance. The method and results are envisioned to be applied in various practical situations, such as post-disaster searching, hostage rescues, and intelligent homecare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Remote Sensing on Life Activities)
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Open AccessArticle
Cold Bias of ERA5 Summertime Daily Maximum Land Surface Temperature over Iberian Peninsula
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2570; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212570 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
Land surface temperature (LST) is a key variable in surface-atmosphere energy and water exchanges. The main goals of this study are to (i) evaluate the LST of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA-Interim and ERA5 reanalyses over Iberian Peninsula using [...] Read more.
Land surface temperature (LST) is a key variable in surface-atmosphere energy and water exchanges. The main goals of this study are to (i) evaluate the LST of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA-Interim and ERA5 reanalyses over Iberian Peninsula using the Satellite Application Facility on Land Surface Analysis (LSA-SAF) product and to (ii) understand the main drivers of the LST errors in the reanalysis. Simulations with the ECMWF land-surface model in offline mode (uncoupled) were carried out over the Iberian Peninsula and compared with the reanalysis data. Several sensitivity simulations were performed in a confined domain centered in Southern Portugal to investigate potential sources of the LST errors. The Copernicus Global Land Service (CGLS) fraction of green vegetation cover (FCover) and the European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative (ESA-CCI) Land Cover dataset were explored. We found a general underestimation of daytime LST and slightly overestimation at night-time. The results indicate that there is still room for improvement in the simulation of LST in ECMWF products. Still, ERA5 presents an overall higher quality product in relation to ERA-Interim. Our analysis suggested a relation between the large daytime cold bias and vegetation cover differences between (ERA5 and CGLS FCocver) with a correlation of −0.45. The replacement of the low and high vegetation cover by those of ESA-CCI provided an overall reduction of the large Tmax biases during summer. The increased vertical resolution of the soil at the surface, has a positive impact, but much smaller when compared with the vegetation changes. The sensitivity of the vegetation density parameter, that currently depends on the vegetation type, provided further proof for a needed revision of the vegetation in the model, as there is a reasonable correlation between this parameter and the Tmax mean errors when using the ESA-CCI vegetation cover (while the same correlation cannot be reproduced with the original model vegetation). Our results support the hypothesis that vegetation cover is one of the main drivers of the LST summertime cold bias in ERA5 over Iberian Peninsula. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Land Surface and Earth System Modelling)
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Quiet Solar Luminosity Variability from TSI Satellite Measurements and Proxy Models during 1980–2018
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2569; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212569 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
A continuous record of direct total solar irradiance (TSI) observations began with a series of satellite experiments in 1978. This record requires comparisons of overlapping satellite observations with adequate relative precisions to provide useful long term TSI trend information. Herein we briefly review [...] Read more.
A continuous record of direct total solar irradiance (TSI) observations began with a series of satellite experiments in 1978. This record requires comparisons of overlapping satellite observations with adequate relative precisions to provide useful long term TSI trend information. Herein we briefly review the active cavity radiometer irradiance monitor physikalisch-meteorologisches observatorium davos (ACRIM-PMOD) TSI composite controversy regarding how the total solar irradiance (TSI) has evolved since 1978 and about whether TSI significantly increased or slightly decreased from 1980 to 2000. The main question is whether TSI increased or decreased during the so-called ACRIM-gap period from 1989 to 1992. There is significant discrepancy between TSI proxy models and observations before and after the gap, which requires a careful revisit of the data analysis and modeling performed during the ACRIM-gap period. In this study, we use three recently proposed TSI proxy models that do not present any TSI increase during the ACRIM-gap, and show that they agree with the TSI data only from 1996 to 2016. However, these same models significantly diverge from the observations from 1981 and 1996. Thus, the scaling errors must be different between the two periods, which suggests errors in these models. By adjusting the TSI proxy models to agree with the data patterns before and after the ACRIM-gap, we found that these models miss a slowly varying TSI component. The adjusted models suggest that the quiet solar luminosity increased from the 1986 to the 1996 TSI minimum by about 0.45 W/m2 reaching a peak near 2000 and decreased by about 0.15 W/m2 from the 1996 to the 2008 TSI cycle minimum. This pattern is found to be compatible with the ACRIM TSI composite and confirms the ACRIM TSI increasing trend from 1980 to 2000, followed by a long-term decreasing trend since. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Land Surface Radiation Budget)
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Appropriate Remote Sensing Indices for Spring Wheat Yield Estimation in Mongolia
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2568; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212568 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
In Mongolia, the monitoring and estimation of spring wheat yield at the regional and national levels are key issues for the agricultural policy and food management as well as for the economy and society as a whole. The remote sensing data and technique [...] Read more.
In Mongolia, the monitoring and estimation of spring wheat yield at the regional and national levels are key issues for the agricultural policy and food management as well as for the economy and society as a whole. The remote sensing data and technique have been widely used for the estimation of crop yield and production in the world. For the current research, nine remote sensing indices were tested that include normalized difference drought index (NDDI), normalized difference water index (NDWI), vegetation condition index (VCI), temperature condition index (TCI), vegetation health index (VHI), normalized multi-band drought index (NMDI), visible and shortwave infrared drought index (VSDI), and vegetation supply water index (VSWI). These nine indices derived from MODIS/Terra satellite have so far not been used for crop yield prediction in Mongolia. The primary objective of this study was to determine the best remote sensing indices in order to develop an estimation model for spring wheat yield using correlation and regression method. The spring wheat yield data from the ground measurements of eight meteorological stations in Darkhan and Selenge provinces from 2000 to 2017 have been used. The data were collected during the period of the growing season (June–August). Based on the analysis, we constructed six models for spring wheat yield estimation. The results showed that the range of the root-mean-square error (RMSE) values of estimated spring wheat yield was between 4.1 (100 kg ha−1) to 4.8 (100 kg ha−1), respectively. The range of the mean absolute error (MAE) values was between 3.3 to 3.8 and the index of agreement (d) values was between 0.74 to 0.84, respectively. The conclusion was that the best model would be (R2 = 0.55) based on NDWI, VSDI, and NDVI out of the nine indices and could serve as the most effective predictor and reliable remote sensing indices for monitoring the spring wheat yield in the northern part of Mongolia. Our results showed that the best timing of yield prediction for spring wheat was around the end of June and the beginning of July, which is the flowering stage of spring wheat in this study area. This means an accurate yield prediction for spring wheat can be achieved two months before the harvest time using the regression model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Agriculture: State-of-the-Art)
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Open AccessArticle
Automated Inspection of Railway Tunnels’ Power Line Using LiDAR Point Clouds
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2567; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212567 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
Transport networks need periodic inspections to increase their safety and improve their management. In the last few years, LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology has become a tool for helping to create a precise database of almost any type of infrastructure. Mobile laser [...] Read more.
Transport networks need periodic inspections to increase their safety and improve their management. In the last few years, LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology has become a tool for helping to create a precise database of almost any type of infrastructure. Mobile laser scanning (MLS) systems use a laser beam to collect dense three dimensional (3D) point clouds, which include geometric and radiometric data of the environment in which they are placed. In the context of this paper, a methodology for automatically inspecting the clearance gauge and the deflection of the aerial contact line in railway tunnels is presented. The main objective is to compare results and verify their compliance with the Spanish norm. The 3D data are provided by a LYNX Mobile Mapper System (MMS). First, the area is surveyed and then the obtained (3D) point cloud is classified into contact wire, suspension wire, and remaining points. Finally, the inspection of the railway’s power line is performed. The validation of the proposed methodology has been carried out in three different tunnel point clouds, obtaining both qualitative and quantitative results for points’ classification, together with the results of the measures performed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Forest Canopy Height and Gaps from Multiangular BRDF, Assessed with Airborne LiDAR Data (Short Title: Vegetation Structure from LiDAR and Multiangular Data)
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2566; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212566 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
Both vegetation multi-angular and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) remote sensing data are indirectly and directly linked with 3D vegetation structure parameters, such as the tree height and vegetation gap fraction, which are critical elements in above-ground biomass and light profiles for photosynthesis [...] Read more.
Both vegetation multi-angular and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) remote sensing data are indirectly and directly linked with 3D vegetation structure parameters, such as the tree height and vegetation gap fraction, which are critical elements in above-ground biomass and light profiles for photosynthesis estimation. LiDAR, particularly LiDAR using waveform data, provides accurate estimates of these structural parameters but suffers from not enough spatial samplings. Structural parameters retrieved from multiangular imaging data through the inversion of physical models have larger uncertainties. This study searches for an analytical approach to fuse LiDAR and multiangular data. We explore the relationships between vegetation structure parameters derived from airborne vegetation LiDAR data and multiangular data and present a new potential angle vegetation index to retrieve the tree height and gap fraction using multi-angular data in Howland Forest, Maine. The BRDF (bidirectional reflectance distribution factor) index named NDMM (normalized difference between the maximum and minimum reflectance) linearly increases with the tree height and decreases with the gap fraction. In addition, these relationships are also dependent on the wavelength, tree species, and stand density. The NDMM index performs better in conifer (R = 0.451 for tree height and R = 0.472 for the gap fraction using the near infrared band) than in deciduous and mixed forests. It is superior in sparse (R = 0.569 for tree height and R = 0.604 for the gap fraction using the near infrared band) compared to dense forest. Moreover, the NDMM index is more strongly related to tree height and the gap fraction at the near infrared band than at the three visible bands. This study sheds light on the possibility of using multiangular data to map vegetation’s structural parameters in larger regions for carbon cycle studies through the fusion of LiDAR and multiangular remote sensing data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Biomass and Carbon Observation with Remote Sensing)
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