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Remote Sens., Volume 12, Issue 3 (February-1 2020) – 248 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) A multidecadal Landsat data record is a unique tool for global land cover and land use change [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Active Gully Erosion Sites in the Loess Plateau of China Using MF-DFA
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 589; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030589 (registering DOI) - 10 Feb 2020
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Abstract
Gullies of different scales and types have developed in the Loess Plateau, China. Differences in the amount of gully erosion influence the development, evolution, morphology, and spatial distribution of these gullies. The strengths of headward erosion on the gully shoulder line are used [...] Read more.
Gullies of different scales and types have developed in the Loess Plateau, China. Differences in the amount of gully erosion influence the development, evolution, morphology, and spatial distribution of these gullies. The strengths of headward erosion on the gully shoulder line are used to dictate soil and water conservation measures. In this study, six typical loess landforms in the Loess Plateau were selected as sampling sites: Shenmu, Suide, Ganquan, Yanchuan, Yijun, and Chunhua, which respectively represent loess–aeolian and dune transition zones, loess hills, loess ridge hills, loess ridges, loess long-ridge fragmented tablelands, and loess tablelands. Using 5 m resolution digital elevation model data from the National Basic Geographic Information Database, a small representative watershed was selected from each sampling site to obtain elevation data on the terrain profiles of gully shoulder lines. Multifractal detrended fluctuation analysis (MF-DFA) was used to conduct statistical and comparative analysis of the elevation fluctuation characteristics of these profiles. The results show that MF-DFA is capable of detecting active gully erosion sites. Sites of active gully erosion are concentrated in Shenmu and Suide but more widely distributed in the other five sites. The results provide a scientific basis for small watershed management planning and the design of soil and water conservation measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Global Digital Elevation Model Processing)
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Open AccessLetter
A Unified Framework for Depth Prediction from a Single Image and Binocular Stereo Matching
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 588; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030588 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 268
Abstract
Depth information has long been an important issue in computer vision. The methods for this can be categorized into (1) depth prediction from a single image and (2) binocular stereo matching. However, these two methods are generally regarded as separate tasks, which are [...] Read more.
Depth information has long been an important issue in computer vision. The methods for this can be categorized into (1) depth prediction from a single image and (2) binocular stereo matching. However, these two methods are generally regarded as separate tasks, which are accomplished in different network architectures when using deep learning-based methods. This study argues that these two tasks can be achieved using only one network with the same weights. We modify existing networks for stereo matching to perform the two tasks. We first enable the network capable of accepting both a single image and an image pair by duplicating the left image when the right image is absent. Then, we introduce a training procedure that alternatively selects training samples of depth prediction from a single image and binocular stereo matching. In this manner, the trained network can perform both tasks and single-image depth prediction even benefits from stereo matching to achieve better performance. Experimental results on KITTI raw dataset show that our model achieves state-of-the-art performances for accomplishing depth prediction from a single image and binocular stereo matching in the same architecture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Deep Learning-Based Drivers Emotion Classification System in Time Series Data for Remote Applications
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030587 (registering DOI) - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 305
Abstract
Aggressive driving emotions is indeed one of the major causes for traffic accidents throughout the world. Real-time classification in time series data of abnormal and normal driving is a keystone to avoiding road accidents. Existing work on driving behaviors in time series data [...] Read more.
Aggressive driving emotions is indeed one of the major causes for traffic accidents throughout the world. Real-time classification in time series data of abnormal and normal driving is a keystone to avoiding road accidents. Existing work on driving behaviors in time series data have some limitations and discomforts for the users that need to be addressed. We proposed a multimodal based method to remotely detect driver aggressiveness in order to deal these issues. The proposed method is based on change in gaze and facial emotions of drivers while driving using near-infrared (NIR) camera sensors and an illuminator installed in vehicle. Driver’s aggressive and normal time series data are collected while playing car racing and truck driving computer games, respectively, while using driving game simulator. Dlib program is used to obtain driver’s image data to extract face, left and right eye images for finding change in gaze based on convolutional neural network (CNN). Similarly, facial emotions that are based on CNN are also obtained through lips, left and right eye images extracted from Dlib program. Finally, the score level fusion is applied to scores that were obtained from change in gaze and facial emotions to classify aggressive and normal driving. The proposed method accuracy is measured through experiments while using a self-constructed large-scale testing database that shows the classification accuracy of the driver’s change in gaze and facial emotions for aggressive and normal driving is high, and the performance is superior to that of previous methods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Assessment of the GOCE High-Level Processing Facility (HPF) Released Global Geopotential Models with Regional Test Results in Turkey
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030586 (registering DOI) - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 283
Abstract
The launch of dedicated satellite missions at the beginning of the 2000s led to significant improvement in the determination of Earth gravity field models. As a consequence of this progress, both the accuracies and the spatial resolutions of the global geopotential models increased. [...] Read more.
The launch of dedicated satellite missions at the beginning of the 2000s led to significant improvement in the determination of Earth gravity field models. As a consequence of this progress, both the accuracies and the spatial resolutions of the global geopotential models increased. However, the spectral behaviors and the accuracies of the released models vary mainly depending on their computation strategies. These strategies are briefly explained in this article. Comprehensive quality assessment of the gravity field models by means of spectral and statistical analyses provides a comparison of the gravity field mapping accuracies of these models, as well as providing an understanding of their progress. The practical benefit of these assessments by means of choosing an optimal model with the highest accuracy and best resolution for a specific application is obvious for a broad range of geoscience applications, including geodesy and geophysics, that employ Earth gravity field parameters in their studies. From this perspective, this study aims to evaluate the GOCE High-Level Processing Facility geopotential models including recently published sixth releases using different validation methods recommended in the literature, and investigate their performances comparatively and in addition to some other models, such as GOCO05S, GOGRA04S and EGM2008. In addition to the validation statistics from various countries, the study specifically emphasizes the numerical test results in Turkey. It is concluded that the performance improves from the first generation RL01 models toward the final RL05 models, which were based on the entire mission data. This outcome was confirmed when the releases of different computation approaches were considered. The accuracies of the RL05 models were found to be similar to GOCO05S, GOGRA04S and even to RL06 versions but better than EGM2008, in their maximum expansion degrees. Regarding the results obtained from these tests using the GPS/leveling observations in Turkey, the contribution of the GOCE data to the models was significant, especially between the expansion degrees of 100 and 250. In the study, the tested geopotential models were also considered for detailed geoid modeling using the remove-compute-restore method. It was found that the best-fitting geopotential model with its optimal expansion degree (please see the definition of optimal degree in the article) improved the high-frequency regional geoid model accuracy by almost 15%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing by Satellite Gravimetry)
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Open AccessArticle
A New Individual Tree Crown Delineation Method for High Resolution Multispectral Imagery
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030585 (registering DOI) - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 250
Abstract
In current individual tree crown (ITC) delineation methods for high-resolution multispectral imagery, either a spectral band or a brightness component of the multispectral image is employed in delineation with reference to edges or shapes of crowns, whereas spectra of tree crowns are seldom [...] Read more.
In current individual tree crown (ITC) delineation methods for high-resolution multispectral imagery, either a spectral band or a brightness component of the multispectral image is employed in delineation with reference to edges or shapes of crowns, whereas spectra of tree crowns are seldom taken into account. Such methods normally perform well in coniferous forests with obvious between-crown shadows, but fail in dense deciduous or mixed forests, in which tree crowns are close to each other, between-crown shadows and boundaries are unobvious, whereas adjacent tree crowns may be of distinguishable spectra. In order to effectively delineate crowns in dense deciduous or mixed forests, a new ITC delineation method using both brightness and spectra of the image is proposed in this study. In this method, a morphological gradient map of the image is first generated, treetops of multi-scale crowns are extracted from the gradient map and refined regarding the spectral differences between neighboring crowns, the gradient map is segmented using a watershed approach with treetops as markers, and the resulting segmentation map is refined to yield a crown map. Evaluated on images of a rainforest and a deciduous forest, the proposed method more accurately delineated adjacent broad-leaved tree crowns with similar brightness but different spectra than the other two typical ITC delineation algorithms, achieving a delineation accuracy of up to 76% in the rainforest and 63% in the deciduous forest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Individual Tree Detection and Characterisation from UAV Data)
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Open AccessArticle
Mapping and Quantifying the Human-Environment Interactions in Middle Egypt Using Machine Learning and Satellite Data Fusion Techniques
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030584 (registering DOI) - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 355
Abstract
Population growth in rural areas of Egypt is rapidly transforming the landscape. New cities are appearing in desert areas while existing cities and villages within the Nile floodplain are growing and pushing agricultural areas into the desert. To enable control and planning of [...] Read more.
Population growth in rural areas of Egypt is rapidly transforming the landscape. New cities are appearing in desert areas while existing cities and villages within the Nile floodplain are growing and pushing agricultural areas into the desert. To enable control and planning of the urban transformation, these rapid changes need to be mapped with high precision and frequency. Urban detection in rural areas in optical remote sensing is problematic when urban structures are built using the same materials as their surroundings. To overcome this limitation, we propose a multi-temporal classification approach based on satellite data fusion and artificial neural networks. We applied the proposed methodology to data of the Egyptian regions of El-Minya and part of Asyut governorates collected from 1998 until 2015. The produced multi-temporal land cover maps capture the evolution of the area and improve the urban detection of the European Space Agency (ESA) Climate Change Initiative Sentinel-2 Prototype Land Cover 20 m map of Africa and the Global Human Settlements Layer from the Joint Research Center (JRC). The extension of urban and agricultural areas increased over 65 km2 and 200 km2, respectively, during the entire period, with an accelerated increase analysed during the last period (2010–2015). Finally, we identified the trends in urban population density as well as the relationship between farmed and built-up land. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Human-Environment Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparisons of Diurnal Variations of Land Surface Temperatures from Numerical Weather Prediction Analyses, Infrared Satellite Estimates and In Situ Measurements
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 583; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030583 (registering DOI) - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 243
Abstract
This study evaluates the diurnal cycle of Land Surface Temperature (LST) from Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) reanalyses (ECMWF ERA5 and ERA Interim), as well as from infrared satellite estimates (ISCCP and SEVIRI/METEOSAT), with in situ measurements. Data covering a full seasonal cycle in [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the diurnal cycle of Land Surface Temperature (LST) from Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) reanalyses (ECMWF ERA5 and ERA Interim), as well as from infrared satellite estimates (ISCCP and SEVIRI/METEOSAT), with in situ measurements. Data covering a full seasonal cycle in 2010 are studied. Careful collocations and cloud filtering are applied. We first compare the reanalysis and satellite products at continental and regional scales, and then we concentrate on comparisons with the in situ observations, under a large variety of environments. SEVIRI shows better agreement with the in situ measurements than the other products, with bias often less than ±2K and correlation of 0.99. Over snow or arid surface, ISCCP tends to have more systematic errors than the other products. ERA5 agrees better to the in situ over barren land than ERA Interim, particularly at night time, thanks to the new surface model. However, over vegetated surfaces, both reanalyses tend to have higher/lower temperature at night/day time than the in situ measurements, probably related to the surface processes and its interactions with atmosphere in the NWP model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Atmosphere Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Classification of Hyperspectral Image Based on Double-Branch Dual-Attention Mechanism Network
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 582; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030582 (registering DOI) - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 292
Abstract
In recent years, researchers have paid increasing attention on hyperspectral image (HSI) classification using deep learning methods. To improve the accuracy and reduce the training samples, we propose a double-branch dual-attention mechanism network (DBDA) for HSI classification in this paper. Two branches are [...] Read more.
In recent years, researchers have paid increasing attention on hyperspectral image (HSI) classification using deep learning methods. To improve the accuracy and reduce the training samples, we propose a double-branch dual-attention mechanism network (DBDA) for HSI classification in this paper. Two branches are designed in DBDA to capture plenty of spectral and spatial features contained in HSI. Furthermore, a channel attention block and a spatial attention block are applied to these two branches respectively, which enables DBDA to refine and optimize the extracted feature maps. A series of experiments on four hyperspectral datasets show that the proposed framework has superior performance to the state-of-the-art algorithm, especially when the training samples are signally lacking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Learning and Feature Mining for Hyperspectral Imagery)
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Open AccessArticle
Enhanced Delaunay Triangulation Sea Ice Tracking Algorithm with Combining Feature Tracking and Pattern Matching
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 581; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030581 (registering DOI) - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 246
Abstract
Sea ice drift detection has the key role of global climate analysis and waterway planning. The ability to detect sea ice drift in real-time also contributes to the safe navigation of ships and the prevention of offshore oil platform accidents. In this paper, [...] Read more.
Sea ice drift detection has the key role of global climate analysis and waterway planning. The ability to detect sea ice drift in real-time also contributes to the safe navigation of ships and the prevention of offshore oil platform accidents. In this paper, an Enhanced Delaunay Triangulation (EDT) algorithm for sea ice tracking was proposed for dual-polarization sequential Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images, which was implemented by combining feature tracking with pattern matching based on integrating HH and HV polarization feature information. A sea ice retrieval algorithm for feature detection, matching, fusion, and outlier detection was specifically developed to increase the system’s accuracy and robustness. In comparison with several state-of-the-art sea ice drift retrieval algorithms, including Speeded Up Robust Features (SURF) and the Oriented FAST and Rotated BRIEF (ORB) method, the results of the experiment provided compelling evidence that our algorithm had a higher accuracy than the SURF and ORB method. Furthermore, the results of our method were compared with the drift vector and direction of buoys data. The drift direction is consistent with buoys, and the velocity deviation was about 10 m. It was proved that this method can be applied effectively to the retrieval of sea ice drift. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Rainfall and Drought Monitoring in the Tharparkar Region of Pakistan
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 580; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030580 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 235
Abstract
The Tharpakar desert region of Pakistan supports a population approaching two million, dependent on rain-fed agriculture as the main livelihood. The almost doubling of population in the last two decades, coupled with low and variable rainfall, makes this one of the world’s most [...] Read more.
The Tharpakar desert region of Pakistan supports a population approaching two million, dependent on rain-fed agriculture as the main livelihood. The almost doubling of population in the last two decades, coupled with low and variable rainfall, makes this one of the world’s most food-insecure regions. This paper examines satellite-based rainfall estimates and biomass data as a means to supplement sparsely distributed rainfall stations and to provide timely estimates of seasonal growth indicators in farmlands. Satellite dekadal and monthly rainfall estimates gave good correlations with ground station data, ranging from R = 0.75 to R = 0.97 over a 19-year period, with tendency for overestimation from the Tropical Rainfall Monitoring Mission (TRMM) and underestimation from Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) datasets. CHIRPS was selected for further modeling, as overestimation from TRMM implies the risk of under-predicting drought. The use of satellite rainfall products from CHIRPS was also essential for derivation of spatial estimates of phenological variables and rainfall criteria for comparison with normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)-based biomass productivity. This is because, in this arid region where drought is common and rainfall unpredictable, determination of phenological thresholds based on vegetation indices proved unreliable. Mapped rainfall distributions across Tharparkar were found to differ substantially from those of maximum biomass (NDVImax), often showing low NDVImax in zones of higher annual rainfall, and vice versa. This mismatch occurs in both wet and dry years. Maps of rainfall intensity suggest that low yields often occur in areas with intense rain causing damage to ripening crops, and that total rainfall in a season is less important than sustained water supply. Correlations between rainfall variables and NDVImax indicate the difficulty of predicting drought early in the growing season in this region of extreme climatic variability. Mapped rainfall and biomass distributions can be used to recommend settlement in areas of more consistent rainfall. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS Level-2 and Sentinel 2 Level-1C Fusion Techniques Intended for Image Segmentation of Archaeological Landscapes and Proxies
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030579 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 249
Abstract
The use of medium resolution, open access, and freely distributed satellite images, such as those of Landsat, is still understudied in the domain of archaeological research, mainly due to restrictions of spatial resolution. This investigation aims to showcase how the synergistic use of [...] Read more.
The use of medium resolution, open access, and freely distributed satellite images, such as those of Landsat, is still understudied in the domain of archaeological research, mainly due to restrictions of spatial resolution. This investigation aims to showcase how the synergistic use of Landsat and Sentinel optical sensors can efficiently support archaeological research through object-based image analysis (OBIA), a relatively new scientific trend, as highlighted in the relevant literature, in the domain of remote sensing archaeology. Initially, the fusion of a 30 m spatial resolution Landsat 8 OLI/TIRS Level-2 and a 10 m spatial resolution Sentinel 2 Level-1C optical images, over the archaeological site of “Nea Paphos” in Cyprus, are evaluated in order to improve the spatial resolution of the Landsat image. At this step, various known fusion models are implemented and evaluated, namely Gram–Schmidt, Brovey, principal component analysis (PCA), and hue-saturation-value (HSV) algorithms. In addition, all four 10 m available spectral bands of the Sentinel 2 sensor, namely the blue, green, red, and near-infrared bands (Bands 2 to 4 and Band 8, respectively) were assessed for each of the different fusion models. On the basis of these findings, the next step of the study, focused on the image segmentation process, through the evaluation of different scale factors. The segmentation process is an important step moving from pixel-based to object-based image analysis. The overall results show that the Gram–Schmidt fusion method based on the near-infrared band of the Sentinel 2 (Band 8) at a range of scale factor segmentation to 70 are the optimum parameters for the detection of standing visible monuments, monitoring excavated areas, and detecting buried archaeological remains, without any significant spectral distortion of the original Landsat image. The new 10 m fused Landsat 8 image provides further spatial details of the archaeological site and depicts, through the segmentation process, important details within the landscape under examination. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Simulating the Impact of Urban Surface Evapotranspiration on the Urban Heat Island Effect Using the Modified RS-PM Model: A Case Study of Xuzhou, China
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030578 - 10 Feb 2020
Viewed by 204
Abstract
As an important energy absorption process in the Earth’s surface energy balance, evapotranspiration (ET) from vegetation and bare soil plays an important role in regulating the environmental temperatures. However, little research has been done to explore the cooling effect of ET on the [...] Read more.
As an important energy absorption process in the Earth’s surface energy balance, evapotranspiration (ET) from vegetation and bare soil plays an important role in regulating the environmental temperatures. However, little research has been done to explore the cooling effect of ET on the urban heat island (UHI) due to the lack of appropriate remote-sensing-based estimation models for complex urban surface. Here, we apply the modified remote sensing Penman–Monteith (RS-PM) model (also known as the urban RS-PM model), which has provided a new regional ET estimation method with the better accuracy for the urban complex underlying surface. Focusing on the city of Xuzhou in China, ET and land surface temperature (LST) were inversed by using 10 Landsat 8 images during 2014–2018. The impact of ET on LST was then analyzed and quantified through statistical and spatial analyses. The results indicate that: (1) The alleviating effect of ET on the UHI was stronger during the warmest months of the year (May–October) but not during the colder months (November–March); (2) ET had the most significant alleviating effect on the UHI effect in those regions with the highest ET intensities; and (3) in regions with high ET intensities and their surrounding areas (within a radius of 150 m), variation in ET was a key factor for UHI regulation; a 10 W·m−2 increase in ET equated to 0.56 K decrease in LST. These findings provide a new perspective for the improvement of urban thermal comfort, which can be applied to urban management, planning, and natural design. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Detection and Localisation of Life Signs from the Air Using Image Registration and Spatio-Temporal Filtering
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030577 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 349
Abstract
In search and rescue operations, it is crucial to rapidly identify those people who are alive from those who are not. If this information is known, emergency teams can prioritize their operations to save more lives. However, in some natural disasters the people [...] Read more.
In search and rescue operations, it is crucial to rapidly identify those people who are alive from those who are not. If this information is known, emergency teams can prioritize their operations to save more lives. However, in some natural disasters the people may be lying on the ground covered with dust, debris, or ashes making them difficult to detect by video analysis that is tuned to human shapes. We present a novel method to estimate the locations of people from aerial video using image and signal processing designed to detect breathing movements. We have shown that this method can successfully detect clearly visible people and people who are fully occluded by debris. First, the aerial videos were stabilized using the key points of adjacent image frames. Next, the stabilized video was decomposed into tile videos and the temporal frequency bands of interest were motion magnified while the other frequencies were suppressed. Image differencing and temporal filtering were performed on each tile video to detect potential breathing signals. Finally, the detected frequencies were remapped to the image frame creating a life signs map that indicates possible human locations. The proposed method was validated with both aerial and ground recorded videos in a controlled environment. Based on the dataset, the results showed good reliability for aerial videos and no errors for ground recorded videos where the average precision measures for aerial videos and ground recorded videos were 0.913 and 1 respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing Image Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio-Temporal Mapping of Multi-Satellite Observed Column Atmospheric CO2 Using Precision-Weighted Kriging Method
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030576 (registering DOI) - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 308
Abstract
Column-averaged dry air mole fraction of atmospheric CO2 (XCO2), obtained by multiple satellite observations since 2003 such as ENVISAT/SCIAMACHY, GOSAT, and OCO-2 satellite, is valuable for understanding the spatio-temporal variations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations which are related to carbon [...] Read more.
Column-averaged dry air mole fraction of atmospheric CO2 (XCO2), obtained by multiple satellite observations since 2003 such as ENVISAT/SCIAMACHY, GOSAT, and OCO-2 satellite, is valuable for understanding the spatio-temporal variations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations which are related to carbon uptake and emissions. In order to construct long-term spatio-temporal continuous XCO2 from multiple satellites with different temporal and spatial periods of observations, we developed a precision-weighted spatio-temporal kriging method for integrating and mapping multi-satellite observed XCO2. The approach integrated XCO2 from different sensors considering differences in vertical sensitivity, overpass time, the field of view, repeat cycle and measurement precision. We produced globally mapped XCO2 (GM-XCO2) with spatial/temporal resolution of 1 × 1 degree every eight days from 2003 to 2016 with corresponding data precision and interpolation uncertainty in each grid. The predicted GM-XCO2 precision improved in most grids compared with conventional spatio-temporal kriging results, especially during the satellites overlapping period (0.3–0.5 ppm). The method showed good reliability with R2 of 0.97 from cross-validation. GM-XCO2 showed good accuracy with a standard deviation of bias from total carbon column observing network (TCCON) measurements of 1.05 ppm. This method has potential applications for integrating and mapping XCO2 or other similar datasets observed from multiple satellite sensors. The resulting GM-XCO2 product may be also used in different carbon cycle research applications with different precision requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollution)
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Open AccessArticle
A Method for Vehicle Detection in High-Resolution Satellite Images that Uses a Region-Based Object Detector and Unsupervised Domain Adaptation
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 575; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030575 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 295
Abstract
Recently, object detectors based on deep learning have become widely used for vehicle detection and contributed to drastic improvement in performance measures. However, deep learning requires much training data, and detection performance notably degrades when the target area of vehicle detection (the target [...] Read more.
Recently, object detectors based on deep learning have become widely used for vehicle detection and contributed to drastic improvement in performance measures. However, deep learning requires much training data, and detection performance notably degrades when the target area of vehicle detection (the target domain) is different from the training data (the source domain). To address this problem, we propose an unsupervised domain adaptation (DA) method that does not require labeled training data, and thus can maintain detection performance in the target domain at a low cost. We applied Correlation alignment (CORAL) DA and adversarial DA to our region-based vehicle detector and improved the detection accuracy by over 10% in the target domain. We further improved adversarial DA by utilizing the reconstruction loss to facilitate learning semantic features. Our proposed method achieved slightly better performance than the accuracy achieved with the labeled training data of the target domain. We demonstrated that our improved DA method could achieve almost the same level of accuracy at a lower cost than non-DA methods with a sufficient amount of labeled training data of the target domain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Transfer Learning for Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessLetter
Advancing High-Throughput Phenotyping of Wheat in Early Selection Cycles
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030574 - 09 Feb 2020
Viewed by 303
Abstract
Enhancing plant breeding to ensure global food security requires new technologies. For wheat phenotyping, only limited seeds and resources are available in early selection cycles. This forces breeders to use small plots with single or multiple row plots in order to include the [...] Read more.
Enhancing plant breeding to ensure global food security requires new technologies. For wheat phenotyping, only limited seeds and resources are available in early selection cycles. This forces breeders to use small plots with single or multiple row plots in order to include the maximum number of genotypes/lines for their assessment. High-throughput phenotyping through remote sensing may meet the requirements for the phenotyping of thousands of genotypes grown in small plots in early selection cycles. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the performance of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for assessing the grain yield of wheat genotypes in different row numbers per plot in the early selection cycles with ground-based spectral sensing. A field experiment consisting of 32 wheat genotypes with four plot designs (1, 2, 3, and 12 rows per plot) was conducted. Near infrared (NIR)-based spectral indices showed significant correlations (p < 0.01) with the grain yield at flowering to grain filling, regardless of row numbers, indicating the potential of spectral indices as indirect selection traits for the wheat grain yield. Compared with terrestrial sensing, aerial-based sensing from UAV showed consistently higher levels of association with the grain yield, indicating that an increased precision may be obtained and is expected to increase the efficiency of high-throughput phenotyping in large-scale plant breeding programs. Our results suggest that high-throughput sensing from UAV may become a convenient and efficient tool for breeders to promote a more efficient selection of improved genotypes in early selection cycles. Such new information may support the calibration of genomic information by providing additional information on other complex traits, which can be ascertained by spectral sensing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Formation Design for Single-Pass GEO InSAR Considering Earth Rotation Based on Coordinate Rotational Transformation
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 573; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030573 (registering DOI) - 08 Feb 2020
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Abstract
The single-pass geosynchronous synthetic aperture radar interferometry (GEO InSAR) adopts the formation of a slave satellite accompanying the master satellite, which can reduce the temporal decorrelation caused by atmospheric disturbance and observation time gap between repeated tracks. Current formation design methods for spaceborne [...] Read more.
The single-pass geosynchronous synthetic aperture radar interferometry (GEO InSAR) adopts the formation of a slave satellite accompanying the master satellite, which can reduce the temporal decorrelation caused by atmospheric disturbance and observation time gap between repeated tracks. Current formation design methods for spaceborne SAR are based on the Relative Motion Equation (RME) in the Earth-Centered-Inertial (ECI) coordinate system (referred to as ECI-RME). Since the Earth rotation is not taken into account, the methods will lead to a significant error for the baseline calculation while applied to formation design for GEO InSAR. In this paper, a formation design method for single-pass GEO InSAR based on Coordinate Rotational Transformation (CRT) is proposed. Through CRT, the RME in Earth-Centered-Earth-Fixed (ECEF) coordinate system (referred to as ECEF-RME) is derived. The ECEF-RME can be used to describe the accurate baseline of close-flying satellites for different orbital altitudes, but not limited to geosynchronous orbit. Aiming at the problem that ECEF-RME does not have a regular geometry as ECI-RME does, a numerical formation design method based on the minimum baseline error criterion is proposed. Then, an analytical formation design method is proposed for GEO InSAR, based on the Minimum Along-track Baseline Criterion (MABC) subject to a fixed root mean square of the perpendicular baseline. Simulation results verify the validity of the ECEF-RME and the analytical formation design method. The simulation results also show that the proposed method can help alleviate the atmospheric phase impacts and improve the retrieval accuracy of the digital elevation model (DEM) compared with the ECI-RME-based approach. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Trend Evolution of Vegetation Phenology in China during the Period of 1981–2016
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030572 (registering DOI) - 08 Feb 2020
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Abstract
The trend of vegetation phenology dynamics is of crucial importance for understanding vegetation growth and its responses to climate change. However, it remains unclear how the trends of vegetation phenology changed over the past decades. By analyzing phenology data including start (SOS), end [...] Read more.
The trend of vegetation phenology dynamics is of crucial importance for understanding vegetation growth and its responses to climate change. However, it remains unclear how the trends of vegetation phenology changed over the past decades. By analyzing phenology data including start (SOS), end (EOS) and length (LOS) of growth season with the Ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD), we revealed the trend evolution of vegetation phenology in China during 1981-2016. Our study suggests that: (1) On the national scale, with EEMD method, the change rates of SOS and LOS were increasing with time, while that of EOS was decreasing. Moreover, the EEMD rates of SOS and LOS exceeded the linear rates in the early-2000s, while that of EOS dropped below the linear rate in the mid-1980s. (2) For each phenological event, the shifted trends took up a large area (~30%), which was close to the sum of all monotonic trends, but more than any monotonic trend type. The shifted trends mainly occurred in the north-eastern China, eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, eastern Sichuan Basin, North China Plain and Loess Plateau. (3) For each phenological event, the areas in the high-latitude experienced the contrary trends to the other. The amplitude and frequencies of phenology variation in the mid-latitude were stronger than those in the high-latitude and low-latitude. Meanwhile, LOS in the high-latitude was induced by SOS. (4) For each phenological event, the trend evolution varying with longitudes can be divided into eastern region (east of 121°E), central region (92°E–121°E) and western region (west of 92°E) based on the evolution of trends varying with longitudes. The east experienced a delayed SOS and a shorten LOS, which was different from the other areas. The magnitude of delayed trends in EOS and the prolonged trends in LOS were stronger from east to west as longitudes changes. The variation characteristics of LOS with longitude were mainly caused by SOS in the eastern region and by SOS and EOS together in the western and central region. (5) Each land cover types, except Needleleaf Forests, experienced the same trends. For most land cover types, the advance of SOS, delay of EOS and extension of LOS began in the 1980s, the 1990s, and the 1990s, respectively and enhanced several times. Moreover, the magnitudes of Grasslands in SOS and Evergreen Broadleaf Forest in EOS were much greater than the others, while that of croplands was the smallest in each phenological event. Our results showed that the analysis of trend evolution with nonlinear method is very important to accurately reveal the variation characteristics of phenology trends and to extract the inherent trend shifts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring Vegetation Phenology: Trends and Anomalies)
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Open AccessArticle
Individual Tree Position Extraction and Structural Parameter Retrieval Based on Airborne LiDAR Data: Performance Evaluation and Comparison of Four Algorithms
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030571 - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 292
Abstract
Information for individual trees (e.g., position, treetop, height, crown width, and crown edge) is beneficial for forest monitoring and management. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data have been widely used to retrieve these individual tree parameters from different algorithms, with varying successes. In [...] Read more.
Information for individual trees (e.g., position, treetop, height, crown width, and crown edge) is beneficial for forest monitoring and management. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data have been widely used to retrieve these individual tree parameters from different algorithms, with varying successes. In this study, we used an iterative Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN) algorithm to separate ground and canopy points in airborne LiDAR data, and generated Digital Elevation Models (DEM) by Inverse Distance Weighted (IDW) interpolation, thin spline interpolation, and trend surface interpolation, as well as by using the Kriging algorithm. The height of the point cloud was assigned to a Digital Surface Model (DSM), and a Canopy Height Model (CHM) was acquired. Then, four algorithms (point-cloud-based local maximum algorithm, CHM-based local maximum algorithm, watershed algorithm, and template-matching algorithm) were comparatively used to extract the structural parameters of individual trees. The results indicated that the two local maximum algorithms can effectively detect the treetop; the watershed algorithm can accurately extract individual tree height and determine the tree crown edge; and the template-matching algorithm works well to extract accurate crown width. This study provides a reference for the selection of algorithms in individual tree parameter inversion based on airborne LiDAR data and is of great significance for LiDAR-based forest monitoring and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Multi-Scale SMOS and SMAP Soil Moisture Products across the Iberian Peninsula
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030570 (registering DOI) - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 286
Abstract
In the last decade, technological advances led to the launch of two satellite missions dedicated to measure the Earth’s surface soil moisture (SSM): the ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) launched in 2009, and the NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) launched [...] Read more.
In the last decade, technological advances led to the launch of two satellite missions dedicated to measure the Earth’s surface soil moisture (SSM): the ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) launched in 2009, and the NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) launched in 2015. The two satellites have an L-band microwave radiometer on-board to measure the Earth’s surface emission. These measurements (brightness temperatures TB) are then used to generate global maps of SSM every three days with a spatial resolution of about 30–40 km and a target accuracy of 0.04 m3/m3. To meet local applications needs, different approaches have been proposed to spatially disaggregate SMOS and SMAP TB or their SSM products. They rely on synergies between multi-sensor observations and are built upon different physical assumptions. In this study, temporal and spatial characteristics of six operational SSM products derived from SMOS and SMAP are assessed in order to diagnose their distinct features, and the rationale behind them. The study is focused on the Iberian Peninsula and covers the period from April 2015 to December 2017. A temporal inter-comparison analysis is carried out using in situ SSM data from the Soil Moisture Measurements Station Network of the University of Salamanca (REMEDHUS) to evaluate the impact of the spatial scale of the different products (1, 3, 9, 25, and 36 km), and their correspondence in terms of temporal dynamics. A spatial analysis is conducted for the whole Iberian Peninsula with emphasis on the added-value that the enhanced resolution products provide based on the microwave-optical (SMOS/ERA5/MODIS) or the active–passive microwave (SMAP/Sentinel-1) sensor fusion. Our results show overall agreement among time series of the products regardless their spatial scale when compared to in situ measurements. Still, higher spatial resolutions would be needed to capture local features such as small irrigated areas that are not dominant at the 1-km pixel scale. The degree to which spatial features are resolved by the enhanced resolution products depend on the multi-sensor synergies employed (at TB or soil moisture level), and on the nature of the fine-scale information used. The largest disparities between these products occur in forested areas, which may be related to the reduced sensitivity of high-resolution active microwave and optical data to soil properties under dense vegetation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ten Years of Remote Sensing at Barcelona Expert Center)
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Open AccessArticle
Evapotranspiration in the Tono Reservoir Catchment in Upper East Region of Ghana Estimated by a Novel TSEB Approach from ASTER Imagery
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030569 (registering DOI) - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 296
Abstract
Evapotranspiration (ET) is dynamic and influences water resource distribution. Sustainable management of water resources requires accurate estimations of the individual components that result in evapotranspiration, including the daily net radiation (DNR). Daily ET is more useful than the evaporative fraction (EF) provided by [...] Read more.
Evapotranspiration (ET) is dynamic and influences water resource distribution. Sustainable management of water resources requires accurate estimations of the individual components that result in evapotranspiration, including the daily net radiation (DNR). Daily ET is more useful than the evaporative fraction (EF) provided by remote sensing ET models, and to account for daily variations, EF is usually combined with the DNR. DNR exhibits diurnal and spatiotemporal variations due to landscape heterogeneity. In the modified Two-Source Energy Balance (TSEB) approach by Zhuang and Wu, 2015, ecophysiological constraint functions of temperature and moisture of plants based on atmospheric moisture and vegetation indices were introduced, but the DNR was not spatially accounted for in the estimation of the daily ET. This research adopted a novel approach that accounts for spatiotemporal variations in estimated daily ET by incorporating the Bisht and Bras DNR model in the modified version of the TSEB model. Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite imagery over the Tono irrigation watershed within the Upper East Region of Ghana and Southern Burkina Faso were used. We estimated the energy fluxes of latent and sensible heat as well as the net radiation and soil heat fluxes from the satellite images and compared our results with ground-based measurements from an eddy covariance (EC) station established by the West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) within the watershed area. We noticed a similarity between our model estimated fluxes and ET with the ground-based EC station measurements. Eight different land use/cover types were identified in the study area, and each of these contributed significantly to the overall ET variations between the two study periods: December 2009 and December 2017. For instance, due to a higher leaf area index (LAI) for all vegetation types in December 2009 than in December 2017, the ET for December 2017 was higher than that for December 2009. We also noticed that the land use/cover types within the footprint area of the EC station were only six out of the eight. Generally, all the surface energy fluxes increased from December 2009 to December 2017. Mean ET varied from 3.576 to 4.486 (mm/d) for December 2009 while from 4.502 to 5.280 (mm/d) for December 2017 across the different land use/cover classes. Knowledge of the dynamics of evapotranspiration and adoption of cost-effective methods to estimate its individual components in an effective and efficient way is critical to water resources management. Our findings provide a tool for all water stakeholders within watersheds to manage water resources in an engaging and cost-effective way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biogeosciences Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Geometric Accuracy Improvement Method for High-Resolution Optical Satellite Remote Sensing Imagery Combining Multi-Temporal SAR Imagery and GLAS Data
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 568; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030568 - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 304
Abstract
With the widespread availability of satellite data, a single region can be described using multi-source and multi-temporal remote sensing data, such as high-resolution (HR) optical imagery, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, and space-borne laser altimetry data. These have become the main source of [...] Read more.
With the widespread availability of satellite data, a single region can be described using multi-source and multi-temporal remote sensing data, such as high-resolution (HR) optical imagery, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, and space-borne laser altimetry data. These have become the main source of data for geopositioning. However, due to the limitation of the direct geometric accuracy of HR optical imagery and the effect of the small intersection angle of HR optical imagery in stereo pair orientation, the geometric accuracy of HR optical imagery cannot meet the requirements for geopositioning without ground control points (GCPs), especially in uninhabited areas, such as forests, plateaus, or deserts. Without satellite attitude error, SAR usually provides higher geometric accuracy than optical satellites. Space-borne laser altimetry technology can collect global laser footprints with high altitude accuracy. Therefore, this paper presents a geometric accuracy improvement method for HR optical satellite remote sensing imagery combining multi-temporal SAR Imagery and GLAS data without GCPs. Based on the imaging mechanism, the differences in the weight matrix determination of the HR optical imagery and SAR imagery were analyzed. The laser altimetry data with high altitude accuracy were selected and applied as height control point in combined geopositioning. To validate the combined geopositioning approach, GaoFen2 (GF2) optical imagery, GaoFen6 (GF6) optical imagery, GaoFen3 (GF3) SAR imagery, and the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) footprint were tested. The experimental results show that the proposed model can be effectively applied to combined geopositioning to improve the geometric accuracy of HR optical imagery. Moreover, we found that the distribution and weight matrix determination of SAR images and the distribution of GLAS footprints are the crucial factors influencing geometric accuracy. Combined geopositioning using multi-source remote sensing data can achieve a plane accuracy of 1.587 m and an altitude accuracy of 1.985 m, which is similar to the geometric accuracy of geopositioning of GF2 with GCPs. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Determination of Phycocyanin from Space—A Bibliometric Analysis
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030567 - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 401
Abstract
Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of studies about the estimation of phycocyanin derived from remote sensing techniques. Since phycocyanin is a unique pigment of inland water cyanobacteria, the quantification of its concentration from earth observation [...] Read more.
Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in the number of studies about the estimation of phycocyanin derived from remote sensing techniques. Since phycocyanin is a unique pigment of inland water cyanobacteria, the quantification of its concentration from earth observation data is important for water quality monitoring - once some species can produce toxins. Because of the growth of this field in the past decade, several reviews and studies comparing algorithms have been published. Thus, instead of focusing on algorithms comparison or description, the goal of the present study is to systematically analyze and visualize the evolution of publications. Using the Web of Science database this study analyzed the existing publications on remote sensing of phycocyanin decade-by-decade for the period 1991–2020. The bibliometric analysis showed how research topics evolved from measuring pigments to the quantification of optical properties and from laboratory experiments to measuring entire temperate and tropical aquatic systems. This study provides the status quo and development trend of the field and points out what could be the direction for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Feature Papers for Section Environmental Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Leaf Nitrogen Concentrations Using Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy in Multiple Crops
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 566; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030566 (registering DOI) - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 269
Abstract
In this work, crop leaf nitrogen concentration (LNC) is predicted by leaf impedance measurements made by electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). This method uses portable equipment and is noninvasive, as are other available nondestructive methods, such as hyperspectral imaging, near-infrared spectroscopy, and soil-plant analyses [...] Read more.
In this work, crop leaf nitrogen concentration (LNC) is predicted by leaf impedance measurements made by electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). This method uses portable equipment and is noninvasive, as are other available nondestructive methods, such as hyperspectral imaging, near-infrared spectroscopy, and soil-plant analyses development (SPAD). An EVAL-AD5933EBZ evaluation board is used to measure the impedances of four different crop leaves, i.e., canola, wheat, soybeans, and corn, in the frequency range of 5 to 15 kHz. Multiple linear regression using the least square method is employed to obtain a correlation between leaf nitrogen concentrations and leaf impedances. A strong correlation is found between nitrogen concentrations and measured impedances for multiple features using EIS. The results are obtained by PrimaXL Data Analysis ToolPak and validated by analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests. Optimized regression models are determined by selecting features using the backward elimination method. After a comparative analysis among the four different crops, the best multiple regression results are found for canola with an overall correlation coefficient (R) of 0.99, a coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.98, and root mean square (RMSE) of 0.54% in the frequency range of 8.7–12 kHz. The performance of EIS is also compared with an available SPAD reading which is moderately correlated with LNC. A high correlation coefficient of 0.94, a coefficient of determination of 0.89, and RMSE of 1.12% are obtained using EIS, whereas a maximum correlation coefficient of 0.72, a coefficient of determination of 0.53, and RMSE of 1.52% are obtained using SPAD for the same number of combined observations. The proposed multiple linear regression models based on EIS measurements sensitive to LNC can be used on a very local scale to develop a simple, rapid, inexpensive, and effective instrument for determining the leaf nitrogen concentrations in crops. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Broad-Scale Weather Patterns Encountered during Flight Influence Landbird Stopover Distributions
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030565 - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 432
Abstract
The dynamic weather conditions that migrating birds experience during flight likely influence where they stop to rest and refuel, particularly after navigating inhospitable terrain or large water bodies, but effects of weather on stopover patterns remain poorly studied. We examined the influence of [...] Read more.
The dynamic weather conditions that migrating birds experience during flight likely influence where they stop to rest and refuel, particularly after navigating inhospitable terrain or large water bodies, but effects of weather on stopover patterns remain poorly studied. We examined the influence of broad-scale weather conditions encountered by nocturnally migrating Nearctic-Neotropical birds during northward flight over the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) on subsequent coastal stopover distributions. We categorized nightly weather patterns using historic maps and quantified region-wide densities of birds in stopover habitat with data collected by 10 weather surveillance radars from 2008 to 2015. We found spring weather patterns over the GOM were most often favorable for migrating birds, with winds assisting northward flight, and document regional stopover patterns in response to specific unfavorable weather conditions. For example, Midwest Continental High is characterized by strong northerly winds over the western GOM, resulting in high-density concentrations of migrants along the immediate coastlines of Texas and Louisiana. We show, for the first time, that broad-scale weather experienced during flight influences when and where birds stop to rest and refuel. Linking synoptic weather patterns encountered during flight with stopover distributions contributes to the emerging macro-ecological understanding of bird migration, which is critical to consider in systems undergoing rapid human-induced changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Aeroecology)
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Open AccessArticle
Ultrahigh Resolution Scatterometer Winds near Hawaii
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030564 - 08 Feb 2020
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Abstract
Hawaii regional climate model (HRCM), QuikSCAT, and ASCAT wind estimates are compared in the lee of Hawaii’s Big Island with the goal of understanding ultrahigh resolution (UHR) scatterometer wind retrieval capabilities in this area, which includes a reverse-flow toward the island in the [...] Read more.
Hawaii regional climate model (HRCM), QuikSCAT, and ASCAT wind estimates are compared in the lee of Hawaii’s Big Island with the goal of understanding ultrahigh resolution (UHR) scatterometer wind retrieval capabilities in this area, which includes a reverse-flow toward the island in the lee of the predominate flow. A comparison of scatterometer measured σ 0 and model predicted σ 0 suggests that scatterometers can detect the reverse flow in the lee of the island; however, neither QuikSCAT- nor ASCAT-estimated winds consistently report this flow. Furthermore, the scatterometer UHR winds do not resolve the wind direction features predicted by the HRCM. Differences between scatterometer measured σ 0 and HRCM predicted σ 0 indicate possible error in the placement of key reverse flow features predicted by the HRCM. We find that coarse initialization fields and a large size median filter windows used in ambiguity selection can impede the accuracy of the UHR wind direction retrieval in this area, suggesting the need for further development of improved near-coastal ambiguity selection algorithms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
High-Frequency Variations in Pearl River Plume Observed by Soil Moisture Active Passive Sea Surface Salinity
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 563; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030563 - 08 Feb 2020
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Abstract
River plumes play an important role in the cross-margin transport of phytoplankton and nutrients, which have profound impacts on coastal ecosystems. Using recently available Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) sea surface salinity (SSS) data and high-resolution ocean color products, this study investigated summertime [...] Read more.
River plumes play an important role in the cross-margin transport of phytoplankton and nutrients, which have profound impacts on coastal ecosystems. Using recently available Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) sea surface salinity (SSS) data and high-resolution ocean color products, this study investigated summertime high-frequency variations in the Pearl River plume of China and its biological response. The SMAP SSS captures the intraseasonal oscillations in the offshore transport of the Pearl River plume well, which has distinct 30–60 day variations from mid-May to late September. The offshore transport of freshwater varies concurrently with southwesterly wind anomalies and is roughly in phase with the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) index in phases 1–5, thus implying that the MJO exerts a significant influence. During MJO phases 1–2, the southwest wind anomalies in the northeastern South China Sea (SCS) enhanced cross-shore Ekman transport, while the northeast wind anomalies during MJO phases 3–5 favored the subsequent southwestward transport of the plume. The high chlorophyll-a concentration coincided well with the low-salinity water variations, emphasizing the important role of the offshore transport of the Pearl River plume in sustaining biological production over the oligotrophic northern SCS. The strong offshore transport of the plume in June 2015 clearly revealed that the proximity of a cyclonic eddy plays a role in the plume’s dispersal pathway. In addition, heavy rainfall related to the landfall of tropical cyclones in the Pearl River Estuary region contributed to the episodic offshore transport of the plume. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Microhabitat Suitability for an Endangered Small Mammal Using Sentinel-2 Data
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030562 - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 306
Abstract
Accurate mapping is a main challenge for endangered small-sized terrestrial species. Freely available spatio-temporal data at high resolution from multispectral satellite offer excellent opportunities for improving predictive distribution models of such species based on fine-scale habitat features, thus making it easier to achieve [...] Read more.
Accurate mapping is a main challenge for endangered small-sized terrestrial species. Freely available spatio-temporal data at high resolution from multispectral satellite offer excellent opportunities for improving predictive distribution models of such species based on fine-scale habitat features, thus making it easier to achieve comprehensive biodiversity conservation goals. However, there are still few examples showing the utility of remote-sensing-based products in mapping microhabitat suitability for small species of conservation concern. Here, we address this issue using Sentinel-2 sensor-derived habitat variables, used in combination with more commonly used explanatory variables (e.g., topography), to predict the distribution of the endangered Cabrera vole (Microtus cabrerae) in agrosilvopastorial systems. Based on vole surveys conducted in two different seasons over a ~176,000 ha landscape in Southern Portugal, we assessed the significance of each predictor in explaining Cabrera vole occurrence using the Boruta algorithm, a novel Random forest variant for dealing with high dimensionality of explanatory variables. Overall, results showed a strong contribution of Sentinel-2-derived variables for predicting microhabitat suitability of Cabrera voles. In particular, we found that photosynthetic activity (NDI45), specific spectral signal (SWIR1), and landscape heterogeneity (Rao’s Q) were good proxies of Cabrera voles’ microhabitat, mostly during temporally greener and wetter conditions. In addition to remote-sensing-based variables, the presence of road verges was also an important driver of voles’ distribution, highlighting their potential role as refuges and/or corridors. Overall, our study supports the use of remote-sensing data to predict microhabitat suitability for endangered small-sized species in marginal areas that potentially hold most of the biodiversity found in human-dominated landscapes. We believe our approach can be widely applied to other species, for which detailed habitat mapping over large spatial extents is difficult to obtain using traditional descriptors. This would certainly contribute to improving conservation planning, thereby contributing to global conservation efforts in landscapes that are managed for multiple purposes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Biodiversity Mapping and Monitoring)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Semiautomatic Pixel-Object Method for Detecting Landslides Using Multitemporal ALOS-2 Intensity Images
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 561; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030561 - 08 Feb 2020
Viewed by 330
Abstract
The rapid and accurate mapping of large-scale landslides and other mass movement disasters is crucial for prompt disaster response efforts and immediate recovery planning. As such, remote sensing information, especially from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors, has significant advantages over cloud-covered optical imagery [...] Read more.
The rapid and accurate mapping of large-scale landslides and other mass movement disasters is crucial for prompt disaster response efforts and immediate recovery planning. As such, remote sensing information, especially from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors, has significant advantages over cloud-covered optical imagery and conventional field survey campaigns. In this work, we introduced an integrated pixel-object image analysis framework for landslide recognition using SAR data. The robustness of our proposed methodology was demonstrated by mapping two different source-induced landslide events, namely, the debris flows following the torrential rainfall that fell over Hiroshima, Japan, in early July 2018 and the coseismic landslide that followed the 2018 Mw6.7 Hokkaido earthquake. For both events, only a pair of SAR images acquired before and after each disaster by the Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) was used. Additional information, such as digital elevation model (DEM) and land cover information, was employed only to constrain the damage detected in the affected areas. We verified the accuracy of our method by comparing it with the available reference data. The detection results showed an acceptable correlation with the reference data in terms of the locations of damage. Numerical evaluations indicated that our methodology could detect landslides with an accuracy exceeding 80%. In addition, the kappa coefficients for the Hiroshima and Hokkaido events were 0.30 and 0.47, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A New Framework for Automatic Airports Extraction from SAR Images Using Multi-Level Dual Attention Mechanism
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(3), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12030560 (registering DOI) - 07 Feb 2020
Viewed by 276
Abstract
The detection of airports from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images is of great significance in various research fields. However, it is challenging to distinguish the airport from surrounding objects in SAR images. In this paper, a new framework, multi-level and densely dual attention [...] Read more.
The detection of airports from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images is of great significance in various research fields. However, it is challenging to distinguish the airport from surrounding objects in SAR images. In this paper, a new framework, multi-level and densely dual attention (MDDA) network is proposed to extract airport runway areas (runways, taxiways, and parking lots) in SAR images to achieve automatic airport detection. The framework consists of three parts: down-sampling of original SAR images, MDDA network for feature extraction and classification, and up-sampling of airports extraction results. First, down-sampling is employed to obtain a medium-resolution SAR image from the high-resolution SAR images to ensure the samples (500 × 500) can contain adequate information about airports. The dataset is then input to the MDDA network, which contains an encoder and a decoder. The encoder uses ResNet_101 to extract four-level features with different resolutions, and the decoder performs fusion and further feature extraction on these features. The decoder integrates the chained residual pooling network (CRP_Net) and the dual attention fusion and extraction (DAFE) module. The CRP_Net module mainly uses chained residual pooling and multi-feature fusion to extract advanced semantic features. In the DAFE module, position attention module (PAM) and channel attention mechanism (CAM) are combined with weighted filtering. The entire decoding network is constructed in a densely connected manner to enhance the gradient transmission among features and take full advantage of them. Finally, the airport results extracted by the decoding network were up-sampled by bilinear interpolation to accomplish airport extraction from high-resolution SAR images. To verify the proposed framework, experiments were performed using Gaofen-3 SAR images with 1 m resolution, and three different airports were selected for accuracy evaluation. The results showed that the mean pixels accuracy (MPA) and mean intersection over union (MIoU) of the MDDA network was 0.98 and 0.97, respectively, which is much higher than RefineNet and DeepLabV3. Therefore, MDDA can achieve automatic airport extraction from high-resolution SAR images with satisfying accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Learning Approaches for Urban Sensing Data Analytics)
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