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Remote Sens., Volume 12, Issue 17 (September-1 2020) – 199 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): High-resolution orthorectified imagery acquired by aerial or satellite sensors is well known to be a rich source of information that enables building detection, urban monitoring, and planning, among others. One can also extract roof geometry and height that is essential for the creation of digital twins and the placement of solar panels. In this work, we extract building heights in a fully automated mode from a single airborne or satellite optical image without relying on any further imagery, point clouds, or GIS records data. To this end, we propose a convolutional neural network architecture called IM2ELEVATION that produces an estimated digital surface model (DSM) image as output. Our model achieves state-of-the-art performance and we show that the quality of the training dataset is key to the successful estimation of DSM. View this paper
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Article
Application of UAV Photogrammetry with LiDAR Data to Facilitate the Estimation of Tree Locations and DBH Values for High-Value Timber Species in Northern Japanese Mixed-Wood Forests
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2865; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172865 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1860
Abstract
High-value timber species play an important economic role in forest management. The individual tree information for such species is necessary for practical forest management and for conservation purposes. Digital aerial photogrammetry derived from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV-DAP) can provide fine spatial and [...] Read more.
High-value timber species play an important economic role in forest management. The individual tree information for such species is necessary for practical forest management and for conservation purposes. Digital aerial photogrammetry derived from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV-DAP) can provide fine spatial and spectral information, as well as information on the three-dimensional (3D) structure of a forest canopy. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data enable area-wide 3D tree mapping and provide accurate forest floor terrain information. In this study, we evaluated the potential use of UAV-DAP and LiDAR data for the estimation of individual tree location and diameter at breast height (DBH) values of large-size high-value timber species in northern Japanese mixed-wood forests. We performed multiresolution segmentation of UAV-DAP orthophotographs to derive individual tree crown. We used object-based image analysis and random forest algorithm to classify the forest canopy into five categories: three high-value timber species, other broadleaf species, and conifer species. The UAV-DAP technique produced overall accuracy values of 73% and 63% for classification of the forest canopy in two forest management sub-compartments. In addition, we estimated individual tree DBH Values of high-value timber species through field survey, LiDAR, and UAV-DAP data. The results indicated that UAV-DAP can predict individual tree DBH Values, with comparable accuracy to DBH prediction using field and LiDAR data. The results of this study are useful for forest managers when searching for high-value timber trees and estimating tree size in large mixed-wood forests and can be applied in single-tree management systems for high-value timber species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Point Clouds in Forest Remote Sensing)
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Article
GSCA-UNet: Towards Automatic Shadow Detection in Urban Aerial Imagery with Global-Spatial-Context Attention Module
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2864; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172864 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1262
Abstract
As an inevitable phenomenon in most optical remote-sensing images, the effect of shadows is prominent in urban scenes. Shadow detection is critical for exploiting shadows and recovering the distorted information. Unfortunately, in general, automatic shadow detection methods for urban aerial images cannot achieve [...] Read more.
As an inevitable phenomenon in most optical remote-sensing images, the effect of shadows is prominent in urban scenes. Shadow detection is critical for exploiting shadows and recovering the distorted information. Unfortunately, in general, automatic shadow detection methods for urban aerial images cannot achieve satisfactory performance due to the limitation of feature patterns and the lack of consideration of non-local contextual information. To address this challenging problem, the global-spatial-context-attention (GSCA) module was developed to self-adaptively aggregate all global contextual information over the spatial dimension for each pixel in this paper. The GSCA module was embedded into a modified U-shaped encoder–decoder network that was derived from the UNet network to output the final shadow predictions. The network was trained on a newly created shadow detection dataset, and the binary cross-entropy (BCE) loss function was modified to enhance the training procedure. The performance of the proposed method was evaluated on several typical urban aerial images. Experiment results suggested that the proposed method achieved a better trade-off between automaticity and accuracy. The F1-score, overall accuracy, balanced-error-rate, and intersection-over-union metrics of the proposed method were higher than those of other state-of-the-art shadow detection methods. Full article
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Article
Fusarium Wilt of Radish Detection Using RGB and Near Infrared Images from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2863; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172863 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1467
Abstract
The radish is a delicious, healthy vegetable and an important ingredient to many side dishes and main recipes. However, climate change, pollinator decline, and especially Fusarium wilt cause a significant reduction in the cultivation area and the quality of the radish yield. Previous [...] Read more.
The radish is a delicious, healthy vegetable and an important ingredient to many side dishes and main recipes. However, climate change, pollinator decline, and especially Fusarium wilt cause a significant reduction in the cultivation area and the quality of the radish yield. Previous studies on plant disease identification have relied heavily on extracting features manually from images, which is time-consuming and inefficient. In addition to Red-Green-Blue (RGB) images, the development of near-infrared (NIR) sensors has enabled a more effective way to monitor the diseases and evaluate plant health based on multispectral imagery. Thus, this study compares two distinct approaches in detecting radish wilt using RGB images and NIR images taken by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The main research contributions include (1) a high-resolution RGB and NIR radish field dataset captured by drone from low to high altitudes, which can serve several research purposes; (2) implementation of a superpixel segmentation method to segment captured radish field images into separated segments; (3) a customized deep learning-based radish identification framework for the extracted segmented images, which achieved remarkable performance in terms of accuracy and robustness with the highest accuracy of 96%; (4) the proposal for a disease severity analysis that can detect different stages of the wilt disease; (5) showing that the approach based on NIR images is more straightforward and effective in detecting wilt disease than the learning approach based on the RGB dataset. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section AI Remote Sensing)
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Correction
Correction: Palombo, A. and Santini, F. ImaAtCor: A Physically Based Tool for Combined Atmospheric and Topographic Corrections of Remote Sensing Images. Remote Sensing 2020, 12, 2076
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2862; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172862 - 03 Sep 2020
Viewed by 936
Abstract
The authors wish to make the following corrections to this paper [...] Full article
Article
NOAA Satellite Soil Moisture Operational Product System (SMOPS) Version 3.0 Generates Higher Accuracy Blended Satellite Soil Moisture
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2861; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172861 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1218
Abstract
Soil moisture plays a vital role for the understanding of hydrological, meteorological, and climatological land surface processes. To meet the need of real time global soil moisture datasets, a Soil Moisture Operational Product System (SMOPS) has been developed at National Oceanic and Atmospheric [...] Read more.
Soil moisture plays a vital role for the understanding of hydrological, meteorological, and climatological land surface processes. To meet the need of real time global soil moisture datasets, a Soil Moisture Operational Product System (SMOPS) has been developed at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to produce a one-stop shop for soil moisture observations from all available satellite sensors. What makes the SMOPS unique is its near real time global blended soil moisture product. Since the first version SMOPS publicly released in 2010, the SMOPS has been updated twice based on the users’ feedbacks through improving retrieval algorithms and including observations from new satellite sensors. The version 3.0 SMOPS has been operationally released since 2017. Significant differences in climatological averages lead to remarkable distinctions in data quality between the newest and the older versions of SMOPS blended soil moisture products. This study reveals that the SMOPS version 3.0 has overwhelming advantages of reduced data uncertainties and increased correlations with respect to the quality controlled in situ measurements. The new version SMOPS also presents more robust agreements with the European Space Agency’s Climate Change Initiative (ESA_CCI) soil moisture datasets. With the higher accuracy, the blended data product from the new version SMOPS is expected to benefit the hydrological, meteorological, and climatological researches, as well as numerical weather, climate, and water prediction operations. Full article
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Article
Impact of Three Gorges Reservoir Water Impoundment on Vegetation–Climate Response Relationship
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2860; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172860 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
In recent years, the impact of global climate change and human activities on vegetation has become increasingly prominent. Understanding vegetation change and its response to climate variables and human activities are key tasks in predicting future environmental changes, climate changes and ecosystem evolution. [...] Read more.
In recent years, the impact of global climate change and human activities on vegetation has become increasingly prominent. Understanding vegetation change and its response to climate variables and human activities are key tasks in predicting future environmental changes, climate changes and ecosystem evolution. This paper aims to explore the impact of Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR) water impoundment on the vegetation–climate response relationship in the Three Gorges Reservoir Region (TGRR) and its surrounding region. Firstly, based on the SPOT/VEGETATION NDVI and ERA5 reanalysis datasets, the correlation between climatic factors (temperature and precipitation) and NDVI was analyzed by using partial correlation coefficient method. Secondly, nonlinear fitting method was used to fit the mapping relationship between NDVI and climatic factors. Then, the residual analysis was conducted to evaluate the impact of TGR impoundment on vegetation–climate response relationship. Finally, sensitivity index (SI), sensitivity variation index (SVI) and difference index (DI) were defined to quantify the variation of vegetation–climate response relationship before and after water impoundment. The results show that water impoundment might have some impacts on the response of vegetation–climate, which gradually reduced with increasing distance from the channel; comparing with the residual analysis method, the SI and DI index methods are more intuitive, and combining these two methods may provide new ideas for the study of the impact of human activities on vegetation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Article
Neural Network Based Quality Control of CYGNSS Wind Retrieval
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2859; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172859 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
Global Navigation Satellite System – Reflectometry (GNSS-R) is a relatively new field in remote sensing that uses reflected GPS signals from the Earth’s surface to study the state of the surface geophysical parameters under observation. The CYGNSS is a first of its kind [...] Read more.
Global Navigation Satellite System – Reflectometry (GNSS-R) is a relatively new field in remote sensing that uses reflected GPS signals from the Earth’s surface to study the state of the surface geophysical parameters under observation. The CYGNSS is a first of its kind GNSS-R constellation mission launched in December 2016. It aims at providing high quality global scale GNSS-R measurements that can reliably be used for ocean science applications such as the study of ocean wind speed dynamics, tropical cyclone genesis, coupled ocean wave modelling, and assimilation into Numerical Weather Prediction models. To achieve this goal, strong quality control filters are needed to detect and remove outlier measurements. Currently, quality control of CYGNSS data products are based on fixed thresholds on various engineering, instrument, and measurement conditions. In this work we develop a Neural Network based quality control filter for automated outlier detection of CYGNSS retrieved winds. The primary merit of the proposed ML filter is its ability to better account for interactions between the individual engineering, instrument and measurement conditions than can separate thresholded flags for each one. Use of Machine Learning capabilities to capture inherent patterns in the data can create an efficient and effective mechanism to detect and remove outlier measurements. The resulting filter has a probability of outlier detection (PD) >75% and False Alarm Rate (FAR) < 20% for a wind speed range of 5 to 18 m/s. At least 75% of the outliers with wind speed errors of at least 5 m/s are removed while ~100% of the outliers with wind speed errors of at least 10 m/s are removed. This filter significantly improves data quality. The standard deviation of wind speed retrieval error is reduced from 2.6 m/s without the filter to 1.7 m/s with it over a wind speed range of 0 to 25 m/s. The design space for this filter is also analyzed in this work to characterize trade-offs between PD and FAR. Currently the filter performance is applicable only up to moderate wind speeds, as sufficient data is available only in this range to train the filter, as a way forward, more data over time can help expand the usability of this filter to higher wind speed ranges as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of GNSS Reflectometry for Earth Observation)
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Technical Note
Validation and Calibration of Significant Wave Height and Wind Speed Retrievals from HY2B Altimeter Based on Deep Learning
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2858; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172858 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1388
Abstract
HY2B is now the latest altimetry mission that provides global nadir significant wave height (SWH) and sea surface wind speed. The validation and calibration of HY2B are carried out against National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) buoy observations from April 2019 to April 2020. [...] Read more.
HY2B is now the latest altimetry mission that provides global nadir significant wave height (SWH) and sea surface wind speed. The validation and calibration of HY2B are carried out against National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) buoy observations from April 2019 to April 2020. In general, the HY2B altimeter measurements agree well with buoy observation, with scatter index of 9.4% for SWH, and 15.1% for wind speed. However, we observed a significant bias of 0.14 m for SWH and −0.42 m/s for wind speed. A deep learning technique is novelly applied for the calibration of HY2B SWH and wind speed. Deep neural network (DNN) is built and trained to correct SWH and wind speed by using input from parameters provided by the altimeter such as sigma0, sigma0 standard deviation (STD). The results based on DNN show a significant reduction of the bias, root mean square error (RMSE), and scatter index (SI) for both SWH and wind speed. Several DNN schemes based on different combination of input parameters have been examined in order to obtain the best model for the calibration. The analysis reveals that sigma0 STD is a key parameter for the calibration of HY2B SWH and wind speed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Calibration and Validation of Satellite Altimetry)
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Article
Estimation of Winter Wheat Production Potential Based on Remotely-Sensed Imagery and Process-Based Model Simulations
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2857; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172857 - 03 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1015
Abstract
Crop production potential is an index used to evaluate crop productivity capacity in one region. The spatial production potential can help give the maximum value of crop yield and visually clarify the prospects of agricultural development. The DSSAT (Decision Support System for Agrotechnology [...] Read more.
Crop production potential is an index used to evaluate crop productivity capacity in one region. The spatial production potential can help give the maximum value of crop yield and visually clarify the prospects of agricultural development. The DSSAT (Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer) model has been used in crop growth analysis, but spatial simulation and analysis at high resolution have not been widely performed for exact crop planting locations. In this study, the light-temperature production potential of winter wheat was simulated with the DSSAT model in the winter wheat planting area, extracted according to Remote Sensing (RS) image data in the Jing-Jin-Ji (JJJ) region. To obtain the precise study area, a Decision Tree (DT) classification was used to extract the winter wheat planting area. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology was used to process spatial data and provide a map of the spatial distribution of the production potential. The production potential of winter wheat was estimated in batches with the DSSAT model. The results showed that the light-temperature production potential is between 4238 and 10,774 kg/ha in JJJ. The production potential in the central part of the planting area is higher than that in the south and north in JJJ due to the influences of light and temperature. These results can be useful for crop model simulation users and decision makers in JJJ. Full article
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Article
Instrument Development: Chinese Radiometric Benchmark of Reflected Solar Band Based on Space Cryogenic Absolute Radiometer
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2856; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172856 - 03 Sep 2020
Viewed by 941
Abstract
Low uncertainty and long-term stability remote data are urgently needed for researching climate and meteorology variability and trends. Meeting these requirements is difficult with in-orbit calibration accuracy due to the lack of radiometric satellite benchmark. The radiometric benchmark on the reflected solar band [...] Read more.
Low uncertainty and long-term stability remote data are urgently needed for researching climate and meteorology variability and trends. Meeting these requirements is difficult with in-orbit calibration accuracy due to the lack of radiometric satellite benchmark. The radiometric benchmark on the reflected solar band has been under development since 2015 to overcome the on-board traceability problem of hyperspectral remote sensing satellites. This paper introduces the development progress of the Chinese radiometric benchmark of the reflected solar band based on the Space Cryogenic Absolute Radiometer (SCAR). The goal of the SCAR is to calibrate the Earth–Moon Imaging Spectrometer (EMIS) on-satellite using the benchmark transfer chain (BTC) and to transfer the traceable radiometric scale to other remote sensors via cross-calibration. The SCAR, which is an electrical substitution absolute radiometer and works at 20 K, is used to realize highly accurate radiometry with an uncertainty level that is lower than 0.03%. The EMIS, which is used to measure the spectrum radiance on the reflected solar band, is designed to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio and polarization. The radiometric scale of the SCAR is converted and transferred to the EMIS by the BTC to improve the measurement accuracy and long-term stability. The payload of the radiometric benchmark on the reflected solar band has been under development since 2018. The investigation results provide the theoretical and experimental basis for the development of the reflected solar band benchmark payload. It is important to improve the measurement accuracy and long-term stability of space remote sensing and provide key data for climate change and earth radiation studies. Full article
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Article
Radiometric Calibration for Incidence Angle, Range and Sub-Footprint Effects on Hyperspectral LiDAR Backscatter Intensity
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2855; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172855 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1297
Abstract
Terrestrial hyperspectral LiDAR (HSL) sensors could provide not only spatial information of the measured targets but also the backscattered spectral intensity signal of the laser pulse. The raw intensity collected by HSL is influenced by several factors, among which the range, incidence angle [...] Read more.
Terrestrial hyperspectral LiDAR (HSL) sensors could provide not only spatial information of the measured targets but also the backscattered spectral intensity signal of the laser pulse. The raw intensity collected by HSL is influenced by several factors, among which the range, incidence angle and sub-footprint play a significant role. Further studies on the influence of the range, incidence angle and sub-footprint are needed to improve the accuracy of backscatter intensity data as it is important for vegetation structural and biochemical information estimation. In this paper, we investigated the effects on the laser backscatter intensity and developed a practical correction method for HSL data. We established a laser ratio calibration method and a reference target-based method for HSL and investigated the calibration procedures for the mixed measurements of the effects of the incident angle, range and sub-footprint. Results showed that the laser ratio at the red-edge and near-infrared laser wavelengths has higher accuracy and simplicity in eliminating range, incident angle and sub-footprint effects and can significantly improve the backscatter intensity discrepancy caused by these effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in LiDAR Remote Sensing for Forestry and Ecology)
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Article
Evaluating the Spectral Indices Efficiency to Quantify Daytime Surface Anthropogenic Heat Island Intensity: An Intercontinental Methodology
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2854; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172854 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1170
Abstract
The surface anthropogenic heat island (SAHI) phenomenon is one of the most important environmental concerns in urban areas. SAHIs play a significant role in quality of urban life. Hence, the quantification of SAHI intensity (SAHII) is of great importance. The impervious surface cover [...] Read more.
The surface anthropogenic heat island (SAHI) phenomenon is one of the most important environmental concerns in urban areas. SAHIs play a significant role in quality of urban life. Hence, the quantification of SAHI intensity (SAHII) is of great importance. The impervious surface cover (ISC) can well reflect the degree and extent of anthropogenic activities in an area. Various actual ISC (AISC) datasets are available for different regions of the world. However, the temporal and spatial coverage of available and accessible AISC datasets is limited. This study was aimed to evaluate the spectral indices efficiency to daytime SAHII (DSAHII) quantification. Consequently, 14 cities including Budapest, Bucharest, Ciechanow, Hamburg, Lyon, Madrid, Porto, and Rome in Europe and Dallas, Seattle, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Phoenix in the USA, were selected. A set of 91 Landsat 8 images, the Landsat provisional surface temperature product, the High Resolution Imperviousness Layer (HRIL), and the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) imperviousness data were used as the AISC datasets for the selected cities. The spectral index-based ISC (SIISC) and land surface temperature (LST) were modelled from the Landsat 8 images. Then, a linear least square model (LLSM) obtained from the LST-AISC feature space was applied to quantify the actual SAHII of the selected cities. Finally, the SAHII of the selected cities was modelled based on the LST-SIISC feature space-derived LLSM. Finally, the values of the coefficient of determination (R2) and the root mean square error (RMSE) between the actual and modelled SAHII were calculated to evaluate and compare the performance of different spectral indices in SAHII quantification. The performance of the spectral indices used in the built LST-SIISC feature space for SAHII quantification differed. The index-based built-up index (IBI) (R2 = 0.98, RMSE = 0.34 °C) and albedo (0.76, 1.39 °C) performed the best and worst performance in SAHII quantification, respectively. Our results indicate that the LST-SIISC feature space is very useful and effective for SAHII quantification. The advantages of the spectral indices used in SAHII quantification include (1) synchronization with the recording of thermal data, (2) simplicity, (3) low cost, (4) accessibility under different spatial and temporal conditions, and (5) scalability. Full article
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Article
Diurnal to Seasonal Variations in Ocean Chlorophyll and Ocean Currents in the North of Taiwan Observed by Geostationary Ocean Color Imager and Coastal Radar
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2853; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172853 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1377
Abstract
The waters in the north of Taiwan are located at the southern end of the East China Sea (ECS), adjacent to the Taiwan Strait (TS), and the Kuroshio region. To understand the physical dynamic process of ocean currents and the temporal and spatial [...] Read more.
The waters in the north of Taiwan are located at the southern end of the East China Sea (ECS), adjacent to the Taiwan Strait (TS), and the Kuroshio region. To understand the physical dynamic process of ocean currents and the temporal and spatial distribution of the ocean chlorophyll concentration in the north of Taiwan, hourly coastal ocean dynamics applications radar (CODAR) flow field data and geostationary ocean color imager (GOCI) data are analyzed here. According to data from December 2014 to May 2020, the water in the TS flows along the northern coast of Taiwan into the Kuroshio region with a velocity of 0.13 m/s in spring and summer through the ECS. In winter, the Kuroshio invades the ECS shelf, where the water flows into the TS through the ECS with a velocity of 0.08 m/s. The seasonal variation of ocean chlorophyll concentration along the northwestern coast of Taiwan is obvious, where the average chlorophyll concentration from November to January exceeds 2.0 mg/m3, and the lowest concentration in spring is 1.4 mg/m3. It is apparent that the tidal currents in the north of Taiwan flow eastward and westward during ebb and flood periods, respectively. Affected by the background currents, the flow velocity exhibits significant seasonal changes, namely, 0.43 m/s in summer and 0.27 m/s in winter during the ebb period and is 0.26 m/s in summer and 0.45 m/s in winter during the flood period. The chlorophyll concentration near the shore is also significantly affected by the tidal currents. Based on CODAR data, virtual drifter experiments, and GOCI data, this research provides novel and important knowledge of ocean current movement process in the north of Taiwan and indicates diurnal to seasonal variations in the ocean chlorophyll concentration, facilitating future research on the interaction between the TS, ECS, and Kuroshio. Full article
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Article
Modelling Water Colour Characteristics in an Optically Complex Nearshore Environment in the Baltic Sea; Quantitative Interpretation of the Forel-Ule Scale and Algorithms for the Remote Estimation of Seawater Composition
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2852; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172852 - 02 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1074
Abstract
The paper presents the modelling results of selected characteristics of water-leaving light in an optically complex nearshore marine environment. The modelled quantities include the spectra of the remote-sensing reflectance Rrs(λ) and the hue angle α, which quantitatively describes the colour of [...] Read more.
The paper presents the modelling results of selected characteristics of water-leaving light in an optically complex nearshore marine environment. The modelled quantities include the spectra of the remote-sensing reflectance Rrs(λ) and the hue angle α, which quantitatively describes the colour of water visible to the unaided human eye. Based on the latter value, it is also possible to match water-leaving light spectra to classes on the traditional Forel-Ule water colour scale. We applied a simple model that assumes that seawater is made up of chemically pure water and three types of additional optically significant components: particulate organic matter (POM) (which includes living phytoplankton), particulate inorganic matter (PIM), and chromophoric dissolved organic matter (CDOM). We also utilised the specific inherent optical properties (SIOPs) of these components, determined from measurements made at a nearshore location on the Gulf of Gdańsk. To a first approximation, the simple model assumes that the Rrs spectrum can be described by a simple function of the ratio of the light backscattering coefficient to the sum of the light absorption and backscattering coefficients (u = bb/(a + bb)). The model calculations illustrate the complexity of possible relationships between the seawater composition and the optical characteristics of an environment in which the concentrations of individual optically significant components may be mutually uncorrelated. The calculations permit a quantitative interpretation of the Forel-Ule scale. The following parameters were determined for the several classes on this scale: typical spectral shapes of the u ratio, possible ranges of the total light absorption coefficient in the blue band (a(440)), as well as upper limits for concentrations of total and organic and inorganic fractions of suspended particles (SPM, POM and PIM concentrations). The paper gives examples of practical algorithms that, based on a given Rrs spectrum or some of its features, and using lookup tables containing the modelling results, enable to estimate the approximate composition of seawater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Baltic Sea Remote Sensing)
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Article
The Dimming of Lights in China during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2851; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172851 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2721
Abstract
A satellite survey of the cumulative radiant emissions from electric lighting across China reveals a large radiance decline in lighting from December 2019 to February 2020—the peak of the lockdown established to suppress the spread of COVID-19 infections. To illustrate the changes, an [...] Read more.
A satellite survey of the cumulative radiant emissions from electric lighting across China reveals a large radiance decline in lighting from December 2019 to February 2020—the peak of the lockdown established to suppress the spread of COVID-19 infections. To illustrate the changes, an analysis was also conducted on a reference set from a year prior to the pandemic. In the reference period, the majority (62%) of China’s population lived in administrative units that became brighter in March 2019 relative to December 2018. The situation reversed in February 2020, when 82% of the population lived in administrative units where lighting dimmed as a result of the pandemic. The dimming has also been demonstrated with difference images for the reference and pandemic image pairs, scattergrams, and a nightly temporal profile. The results indicate that it should be feasible to monitor declines and recovery in economic activity levels using nighttime lighting as a proxy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Night-Time Light)
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Article
Illuminating the Spatio-Temporal Evolution of the 2008–2009 Qaidam Earthquake Sequence with the Joint Use of Insar Time Series and Teleseismic Data
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2850; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172850 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1761
Abstract
Inferring the geometry and evolution of an earthquake sequence is crucial to understand how fault systems are segmented and interact. However, structural geological models are often poorly constrained in remote areas and fault inference is an ill-posed problem with a reliability that depends [...] Read more.
Inferring the geometry and evolution of an earthquake sequence is crucial to understand how fault systems are segmented and interact. However, structural geological models are often poorly constrained in remote areas and fault inference is an ill-posed problem with a reliability that depends on many factors. Here, we investigate the geometry of the Mw 6.3 2008 and 2009 Qaidam earthquakes, in northeast Tibet, by combining InSAR time series and teleseismic data. We conduct a multi-array back-projection analysis from broadband teleseismic data and process three overlapping Envisat tracks covering the two earthquakes to extract the spatio-temporal evolution of seismic ruptures. We then integrate both geodetic and seismological data into a self-consistent kinematic model of the earthquake sequence. Our results constrain the depth and along-strike segmentation of the thrust-faulting sequence. The 2008 earthquake ruptured a ∼32° north-dipping fault that roots under the Olongbulak pop-up structure at ∼12 km depth and fault slip evolved post-seismically in a downdip direction. The 2009 earthquake ruptured three south-dipping high-angle thrusts and propagated from ∼9 km depth to the surface and bilaterally along the south-dipping segmented 55–75° high-angle faults of the Olonbulak pop-up structure that displace basin deformed sedimentary sequences above Paleozoic bedrock. Our analysis reveals that the inclusion of the post-seismic afterslip into modelling is beneficial in the determination of fault geometry, while teleseismic back-projection appears to be a robust tool for identifying rupture segmentation for moderate-sized earthquakes. These findings support the hypothesis that the Qilian Shan is expanding southward along a low-angle décollement that partitions the oblique convergence along multiple flower and pop-up structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology)
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Article
Building Extraction from Airborne LiDAR Data Based on Min-Cut and Improved Post-Processing
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2849; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172849 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Building extraction from LiDAR data has been an active research area, but it is difficult to discriminate between buildings and vegetation in complex urban scenes. A building extraction method from LiDAR data based on minimum cut (min-cut) and improved post-processing is proposed. To [...] Read more.
Building extraction from LiDAR data has been an active research area, but it is difficult to discriminate between buildings and vegetation in complex urban scenes. A building extraction method from LiDAR data based on minimum cut (min-cut) and improved post-processing is proposed. To discriminate building points on the intersecting roof planes from vegetation, a point feature based on the variance of normal vectors estimated via low-rank subspace clustering (LRSC) technique is proposed, and non-ground points are separated into two subsets based on min-cut after filtering. Then, the results of building extraction are refined via improved post-processing using restricted region growing and the constraints of height, the maximum intersection angle and consistency. The maximum intersection angle constraint removes large non-building point clusters with narrow width, such as greenbelt along streets. Contextual information and consistency constraint are both used to eliminate inhomogeneity. Experiments of seven datasets, including five datasets provided by the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), one dataset with high-density point data and one dataset with dense buildings, verify that most buildings, even with curved roofs, are successfully extracted by the proposed method, with over 94.1% completeness and a minimum 89.8% correctness at the per-area level. In addition, the proposed point feature significantly outperforms the comparison alternative and is less sensitive to feature threshold in complex scenes. Hence, the extracted building points can be used in various applications. Full article
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Article
Spatio-Temporal Characteristics for Moon-Based Earth Observations
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2848; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172848 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1010
Abstract
Spatio-temporal characteristics are the crucial conditions for Moon-based Earth observations. In this study, we established a Moon-based Earth observation geometric model by considering the intervisibility condition between a Moon-based platform and observed points on the Earth, which can analyze the spatio-temporal characteristics of [...] Read more.
Spatio-temporal characteristics are the crucial conditions for Moon-based Earth observations. In this study, we established a Moon-based Earth observation geometric model by considering the intervisibility condition between a Moon-based platform and observed points on the Earth, which can analyze the spatio-temporal characteristics of the observations of Earth’s hemisphere. Furthermore, a formula for the spherical cap of the Earth visibility region on the Moon is analytically derived. The results show that: (1) the observed Earth spherical cap has a diurnal period and varies with the nadir point. (2) All the annual global observation durations in different years show two lines that almost coincide with the Arctic circle and the Antarctic circle. Regions between the two lines remain stable, but the observation duration of the South pole and North pole changes every 18.6 years. (3) With the increase of the line-of-sight minimum observation elevation angle, the area of an intervisible spherical cap on the lunar surface is obviously decreased, and this cap also varies with the distance between the barycenter of the Earth and the barycenter of the Moon. In general, this study reveals the effects of the elevation angle on the spatio-temporal characteristics and additionally determines the change of area where the Earth’s hemisphere can be observed on the lunar surface; this information can provide support for the accurate calculation of Moon-based Earth hemisphere observation times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lunar Remote Sensing and Applications)
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Article
High-Resolution Gridded Level 3 Aerosol Optical Depth Data from MODIS
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2847; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172847 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1744
Abstract
The state-of-art satellite observations of atmospheric aerosols over the last two decades from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments have been extensively utilized in climate change and air quality research and applications. The operational algorithms now produce Level 2 aerosol data at [...] Read more.
The state-of-art satellite observations of atmospheric aerosols over the last two decades from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments have been extensively utilized in climate change and air quality research and applications. The operational algorithms now produce Level 2 aerosol data at varying spatial resolutions (1, 3, and 10 km) and Level 3 data at 1 degree. The local and global applications have benefited from the coarse resolution gridded data sets (i.e., Level 3, 1 degree), as it is easier to use since data volume is low, and several online and offline tools are readily available to access and analyze the data with minimal computing resources. At the same time, researchers who require data at much finer spatial scales have to go through a challenging process of obtaining, processing, and analyzing larger volumes of data sets that require high-end computing resources and coding skills. Therefore, we created a high spatial resolution (high-resolution gridded (HRG), 0.1 × 0.1 degree) daily and monthly aerosol optical depth (AOD) product by combining two MODIS operational algorithms, namely Deep Blue (DB) and Dark Target (DT). The new HRG AODs meet the accuracy requirements of Level 2 AOD data and provide either the same or more spatial coverage on daily and monthly scales. The data sets are provided in daily and monthly files through open an Ftp server with python scripts to read and map the data. The reduced data volume with an easy to use format and tools to access the data will encourage more users to utilize the data for research and applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Active and Passive Remote Sensing of Aerosols and Clouds)
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Article
Spectral Calibration Algorithm for the Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS)
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2846; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172846 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1272
Abstract
The Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) onboard the Geostationary Korean Multi-Purpose Satellite 2B was successfully launched in February 2020. GEMS is a hyperspectral spectrometer measuring solar irradiance and Earth radiance in the wavelength range of 300 to 500 nm. This paper introduces the [...] Read more.
The Geostationary Environment Monitoring Spectrometer (GEMS) onboard the Geostationary Korean Multi-Purpose Satellite 2B was successfully launched in February 2020. GEMS is a hyperspectral spectrometer measuring solar irradiance and Earth radiance in the wavelength range of 300 to 500 nm. This paper introduces the spectral calibration algorithm for GEMS, which uses a nonlinear least-squares approach. Sensitivity tests for a series of unknown algorithm parameters such as spectral range for fitting, spectral response function (SRF), and reference spectrum were conducted using the synthetic GEMS spectrum prepared with the ground-measured GEMS SRF. The test results show that the required accuracy of 0.002 nm is achievable provided the SRF and the high-resolution reference spectrum are properly prepared. Such a satisfactory performance is possible mainly due to the inclusion of additional fitting parameters of spectral scales (shift, squeeze, and high order shifts) and SRF (width, shape and asymmetry). For the application to the actual GEMS data, in-orbit SRF is to be monitored using an analytic SRF function and the measured GEMS solar irradiance, while a reference spectrum is going to be selected during the instrument in-orbit test. The calibrated GEMS data is expected to be released by the end of 2020. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Atmosphere Remote Sensing)
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Article
Spatio-Temporal Classification Framework for Mapping Woody Vegetation from Multi-Temporal Sentinel-2 Imagery
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2845; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172845 - 02 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1846
Abstract
The inventory of woody vegetation is of great importance for good forest management. Advancements of remote sensing techniques have provided excellent tools for such purposes, reducing the required amount of time and labor, yet with high accuracy and the information richness. Sentinel-2 is [...] Read more.
The inventory of woody vegetation is of great importance for good forest management. Advancements of remote sensing techniques have provided excellent tools for such purposes, reducing the required amount of time and labor, yet with high accuracy and the information richness. Sentinel-2 is one of the relatively new satellite missions, whose 13 spectral bands and short revisit time proved to be very useful when it comes to forest monitoring. In this study, the novel spatio-temporal classification framework for mapping woody vegetation from Sentinel-2 multitemporal data has been proposed. The used framework is based on the probability random forest classification, where temporal information is explicitly defined in the model. Because of this, several predictions are made for each pixel of the study area, which allow for specific spatio-temporal aggregation to be performed. The proposed methodology has been successfully applied for mapping eight potential forest and shrubby vegetation types over the study area of Serbia. Several spatio-temporal aggregation approaches have been tested, divided into two main groups: pixel-based and neighborhood-based. The validation metrics show that determining the most common vegetation type classes in the neighborhood of 5 × 5 pixels provides the best results. The overall accuracy and kappa coefficient obtained from five-fold cross validation of the results are 82.97% and 0.75, respectively. The corresponding producer’s accuracies range from 36.74% to 97.99% and user’s accuracies range from 46.31% to 98.43%. The proposed methodology proved to be applicable for mapping woody vegetation in Serbia and shows a potential to be implemented in other areas as well. Further testing is necessary to confirm such assumptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mapping Tree Species Diversity)
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Article
A Dual-Wavelength Ocean Lidar for Vertical Profiling of Oceanic Backscatter and Attenuation
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2844; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172844 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1596
Abstract
Ocean water column information profiles are essential for ocean research. Currently, water column profiles are typically obtained by ocean lidar instruments, including spaceborne, airborne and shipborne lidar, most of which are equipped with a 532 nm laser; however, blue wavelength penetrates more for [...] Read more.
Ocean water column information profiles are essential for ocean research. Currently, water column profiles are typically obtained by ocean lidar instruments, including spaceborne, airborne and shipborne lidar, most of which are equipped with a 532 nm laser; however, blue wavelength penetrates more for open ocean detection. In this paper, we present a novel airborne dual-wavelength ocean lidar (DWOL), equipped with a 532 and 486 nm laser that can operate simultaneously. This instrument was designed to compare the performance of 486 and 532 nm lasers in a single detection area and to provide a reference for future spaceborne oceanic lidar (SBOL) design. Airborne and shipborne experiments were conducted in the South China Sea. Results show that—for a 500-frame accumulation—the 486 nm channel obtained volume profiles from a depth of approximately 100 m. In contrast, the vertical profiles obtained by the 532 nm channel only reached in a depth of 75 m, which was approximately 25% less than that of 486 m channel in the same detection area. Results from the inverse lidar attenuation coefficient α(z) for the DWOL show that the maximum value of α(z) ranged from 40 to 80 m, which was consistent with the chlorophyll-scattering layer (CSL) distribution measured by the shipborne instrument. Additionally, α486(z) decreased for depth beyond 80 m, indicating that the 486 nm laser can potentially penetrate the entire CSL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Remote Sensing)
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Article
Thermal Infrared and Ionospheric Anomalies of the 2017 Mw6.5 Jiuzhaigou Earthquake
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2843; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172843 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1123
Abstract
Taking the 2017 Mw6.5 Jiuzhaigou earthquake as a case study, ionospheric disturbances (i.e., total electron content and TEC) and thermal infrared (TIR) anomalies were simultaneously investigated. The characteristics of the temperature of brightness blackbody (TBB), medium-wave infrared brightness (MIB), and outgoing [...] Read more.
Taking the 2017 Mw6.5 Jiuzhaigou earthquake as a case study, ionospheric disturbances (i.e., total electron content and TEC) and thermal infrared (TIR) anomalies were simultaneously investigated. The characteristics of the temperature of brightness blackbody (TBB), medium-wave infrared brightness (MIB), and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) were extracted and compared with the characteristics of ionospheric TEC. We observed different relationships among the three types of TIR radiation according to seismic or aseismic conditions. A wide range of positive TEC anomalies occurred southern to the epicenter. The area to the south of the Huarong mountain fracture, which contained the maximum TEC anomaly amplitudes, overlapped one of the regions with notable TIR anomalies. We observed three stages of increasing TIR radiation, with ionospheric TEC anomalies appearing after each stage, for the first time. There was also high spatial correspondence between both TIR and TEC anomalies and the regional geological structure. Together with the time series data, these results suggest that TEC anomaly genesis might be related to increasing TIR. Full article
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Technical Note
Very Local Subsidence Near the Hot Spring Region in Hakone Volcano, Japan, Inferred from InSAR Time Series Analysis of ALOS/PALSAR Data
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2842; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172842 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1434 | Correction
Abstract
Monitoring of surface displacement by satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) analysis is an effective method for detecting land subsidence in areas where routes of leveling measurements are undeveloped, such as mountainous areas. In particular, InSAR-based monitoring around well-developed hot spring resorts, such [...] Read more.
Monitoring of surface displacement by satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) analysis is an effective method for detecting land subsidence in areas where routes of leveling measurements are undeveloped, such as mountainous areas. In particular, InSAR-based monitoring around well-developed hot spring resorts, such as those in Japan, is useful for conserving hot spring resources. Hakone Volcano is one of the major hot spring resorts in Japan, and many hot spring wells have been developed in the Owakudani fumarole area, where a small phreatic eruption occurred in 2015. In this study, we performed an InSAR time series analysis using the small baseline subset (SBAS) method and ALOS/PALSAR scenes of the Hakone Volcano to monitor surface displacements around the volcano. The results of the SBAS-InSAR time series analysis show highly localized subsidence to the west of Owakudani from 2006–2011 when the ALOS/PALSAR satellite was operated. The area of subsidence was approximately 500 m in diameter, and the peak rate of subsidence was approximately 25 mm/year. Modeling using a point pressure source suggested that the subsidence was caused by a contraction at approximately 700 m above sea level (about 300 m below the ground surface). The rate of this contraction was estimated to be 1.04 × 104 m3/year. Hot spring water is collected from a nearby well at almost the same depth as the contraction source, and its main dissolved ion component is chloride ions, suggesting that the hydrothermal fluids are supplied from deep within the volcano. The land subsidence suggests that the fumarole activity is attenuating due to a decrease in the supply of hydrothermal fluids from deeper areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring Land Subsidence Using Remote Sensing)
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Article
Investigations into Synoptic Spatiotemporal Characteristics of Coastal Upper Ocean Circulation Using High Frequency Radar Data and Model Output
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2841; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172841 - 01 Sep 2020
Viewed by 991
Abstract
Numerical models and remote sensing observation systems such as radars are useful for providing information on surface flows for coastal areas. Evaluation of their performance and extracting synoptic characteristics are challenging and important tasks. This research aims to investigate synoptic characteristics of surface [...] Read more.
Numerical models and remote sensing observation systems such as radars are useful for providing information on surface flows for coastal areas. Evaluation of their performance and extracting synoptic characteristics are challenging and important tasks. This research aims to investigate synoptic characteristics of surface flow fields through undertaking a detailed analysis of model results and high frequency radar (HFR) data using self-organizing map (SOM) and empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis. A dataset of surface flow fields over thirteen days from these two sources was used. A SOM topology map of size 4 × 3 was developed to explore spatial patterns of surface flows. Additionally, comparisons of surface flow patterns between SOM and EOF analysis were carried out. Results illustrate that both SOM and EOF analysis methods are valuable tools for extracting characteristic surface current patterns. Comparisons indicated that the SOM technique displays synoptic characteristics of surface flow fields in a more detailed way than EOF analysis. Extracted synoptic surface current patterns are useful in a variety of applications, such as oil spill treatment and search and rescue. This research provides an approach to using powerful tools to diagnose ocean processes from different aspects. Moreover, it is of great significance to assess SOM as a potential forecasting tool for coastal surface currents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Waters Monitoring Using Remote Sensing Technology)
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Technical Note
Highly Local Model Calibration with a New GEDI LiDAR Asset on Google Earth Engine Reduces Landsat Forest Height Signal Saturation
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2840; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172840 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3419
Abstract
While Landsat has proved to be effective for monitoring many elements of forest condition and change, the platform has well-documented limitations in measuring forest structure, the vertical distribution of the canopy. This is important because structure determines several key ecosystem functions, including: carbon [...] Read more.
While Landsat has proved to be effective for monitoring many elements of forest condition and change, the platform has well-documented limitations in measuring forest structure, the vertical distribution of the canopy. This is important because structure determines several key ecosystem functions, including: carbon storage; habitat suitability; and timber volume. Canopy structure is directly measured by LiDAR, and it should be possible to train Landsat structure models at a highly local scale with the dense, global sample of full waveform LiDAR observations collected by NASA’s Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI). Local models are expected to perform better because: (a) such models may take advantage of localized correlations between structure and canopy surface reflectance; and (b) to the extent that models revert to the mean of the calibration data due to a lack of discrimination, local models will revert to a more representative mean. We tested Landsat-based relative height predictions using a new GEDI asset on Google Earth Engine, described here. Mean prediction error declined by 23% and important prediction biases at the extremes of the range of canopy height dropped as model calibration became more local, minimizing forest structure signal saturation commonly associated with Landsat and other passive optical sensors. Our results suggest that Landsat-based maps of structural variables such as height and biomass may substantially benefit from the kind of local calibration that GEDI’s dense sample of LiDAR data supports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lidar Remote Sensing of Forest Structure, Biomass and Dynamics)
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Article
Multi-Hazard and Spatial Transferability of a CNN for Automated Building Damage Assessment
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2839; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172839 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1838
Abstract
Automated classification of building damage in remote sensing images enables the rapid and spatially extensive assessment of the impact of natural hazards, thus speeding up emergency response efforts. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) can reach good performance on such a task in experimental settings. [...] Read more.
Automated classification of building damage in remote sensing images enables the rapid and spatially extensive assessment of the impact of natural hazards, thus speeding up emergency response efforts. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) can reach good performance on such a task in experimental settings. How CNNs perform when applied under operational emergency conditions, with unseen data and time constraints, is not well studied. This study focuses on the applicability of a CNN-based model in such scenarios. We performed experiments on 13 disasters that differ in natural hazard type, geographical location, and image parameters. The types of natural hazards were hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, which struck across North America, Central America, and Asia. We used 175,289 buildings from the xBD dataset, which contains human-annotated multiclass damage labels on high-resolution satellite imagery with red, green, and blue (RGB) bands. First, our experiments showed that the performance in terms of area under the curve does not correlate with the type of natural hazard, geographical region, and satellite parameters such as the off-nadir angle. Second, while performance differed highly between occurrences of disasters, our model still reached a high level of performance without using any labeled data of the test disaster during training. This provides the first evidence that such a model can be effectively applied under operational conditions, where labeled damage data of the disaster cannot be available timely and thus model (re-)training is not an option. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Environment and Disaster)
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Article
Detecting Classic Maya Settlements with Lidar-Derived Relief Visualizations
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2838; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172838 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
In the past decade, Light Detection and Ranging (lidar) has fundamentally changed our ability to remotely detect archaeological features and deepen our understanding of past human-environment interactions, settlement systems, agricultural practices, and monumental constructions. Across archaeological contexts, lidar relief visualization techniques test how [...] Read more.
In the past decade, Light Detection and Ranging (lidar) has fundamentally changed our ability to remotely detect archaeological features and deepen our understanding of past human-environment interactions, settlement systems, agricultural practices, and monumental constructions. Across archaeological contexts, lidar relief visualization techniques test how local environments impact archaeological prospection. This study used a 132 km2 lidar dataset to assess three relief visualization techniques—sky-view factor (SVF), topographic position index (TPI), and simple local relief model (SLRM)—and object-based image analysis (OBIA) on a slope model for the non-automated visual detection of small hinterland Classic (250–800 CE) Maya settlements near the polities of Uxbenká and Ix Kuku’il in Southern Belize. Pedestrian survey in the study area identified 315 plazuelas across a 35 km2 area; the remaining 90 km2 in the lidar dataset is yet to be surveyed. The previously surveyed plazuelas were compared to the plazuelas visually identified on the TPI and SLRM. In total, an additional 563 new possible plazuelas were visually identified across the lidar dataset, using TPI and SLRM. Larger plazuelas, and especially plazuelas located in disturbed environments, are often more likely to be detected in a visual assessment of the TPI and SLRM. These findings emphasize the extent and density of Classic Maya settlements and highlight the continued need for pedestrian survey to ground-truth remotely identified archaeological features and the impact of modern anthropogenic behaviors for archaeological prospection. Remote sensing and lidar have deepened our understanding of past human settlement systems and low-density urbanism, processes that we experience today as humans residing in modern cities. Full article
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Article
Arctic Sea Level Budget Assessment during the GRACE/Argo Time Period
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2837; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172837 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1763
Abstract
Sea level change is an important indicator of climate change. Our study focuses on the sea level budget assessment of the Arctic Ocean using: (1) the newly reprocessed satellite altimeter data with major changes in the processing techniques; (2) ocean mass change data [...] Read more.
Sea level change is an important indicator of climate change. Our study focuses on the sea level budget assessment of the Arctic Ocean using: (1) the newly reprocessed satellite altimeter data with major changes in the processing techniques; (2) ocean mass change data derived from GRACE satellite gravimetry; (3) and steric height estimated from gridded hydrographic data for the GRACE/Argo time period (2003–2016). The Beaufort Gyre (BG) and the Nordic Seas (NS) regions exhibit the largest positive trend in sea level during the study period. Halosteric sea level change is found to dominate the area averaged sea level trend of BG, while the trend in NS is found to be influenced by halosteric and ocean mass change effects. Temporal variability of sea level in these two regions reveals a significant shift in the trend pattern centered around 2009–2011. Analysis suggests that this shift can be explained by a change in large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns over the Arctic. The sea level budget assessment of the Arctic found a residual trend of more than 1.0 mm/yr. This nonclosure of the sea level budget is further attributed to the limitations of the three above mentioned datasets in the Arctic region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers for Section Environmental Remote Sensing)
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Article
Estimating Rural Electric Power Consumption Using NPP-VIIRS Night-Time Light, Toponym and POI Data in Ethnic Minority Areas of China
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(17), 2836; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12172836 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1793
Abstract
Aiming at the problem that the estimation of electric power consumption (EPC) by using night-time light (NTL) data is mostly concentrated in large areas, a method for estimating EPC in rural areas is proposed. Rural electric power consumption (REPC) is a key indicator [...] Read more.
Aiming at the problem that the estimation of electric power consumption (EPC) by using night-time light (NTL) data is mostly concentrated in large areas, a method for estimating EPC in rural areas is proposed. Rural electric power consumption (REPC) is a key indicator of the national socio-economic development. Despite an improved quality of life in rural areas, there is still a big gap between electricity consumption between rural residents and urban residents in China. The experiment takes REPC as the research target, selects Dehong (DH) Dai Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province as an example, and uses the NTL data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day–Night Band (DNB) carried by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) Satellite from 2012 to 2017, toponym and points-of-interest (POI) data as the main data source. By performing kernel density estimation to extract the urban center and rural area boundaries in the prefecture, and combining the county-level boundary data and electric power data, a linear regression model of the total rural NTL intensity and REPC is estimated. Finally, according to the model, the EPC in ethnic minority rural areas is estimated at a 1-km spatial resolution. The results show that the NPP-REPC model can simulate REPC within a small average error (17.8%). Additionally, there are distinct spatial differences of REPC in ethnic minority areas. Full article
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