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Remote Sens., Volume 9, Issue 10 (October 2017)

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Open AccessLetter Multi-Layer Model Based on Multi-Scale and Multi-Feature Fusion for SAR Images
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1085; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101085
Received: 16 August 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7820 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A multi-layer classification approach based on multi-scales and multi-features (ML–MFM) for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images is proposed in this paper. Firstly, the SAR image is partitioned into superpixels, which are local, coherent regions that preserve most of the characteristics necessary for extracting
[...] Read more.
A multi-layer classification approach based on multi-scales and multi-features (ML–MFM) for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images is proposed in this paper. Firstly, the SAR image is partitioned into superpixels, which are local, coherent regions that preserve most of the characteristics necessary for extracting image information. Following this, a new sparse representation-based classification is used to express sparse multiple features of the superpixels. Moreover, a multi-scale fusion strategy is introduced into ML–MFM to construct the dictionary, which allows complementation between sample information. Finally, the multi-layer operation is used to refine the classification results of superpixels by adding a threshold decision condition to sparse representation classification (SRC) in an iterative way. Compared with traditional SRC and other existing methods, the experimental results of both synthetic and real SAR images have shown that the proposed method not only shows good performance in quantitative evaluation, but can also obtain satisfactory and cogent visualization of classification results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in SAR: Sensors, Methodologies, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle A Region-Based Hierarchical Cross-Section Analysis for Individual Tree Crown Delineation Using ALS Data
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1084; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101084
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 30 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (23517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In recent years, airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) that provided three-dimensional forest information has been widely applied in forest inventory and has shown great potential in automatic individual tree crown delineation (ITCD). Usually, ITCD algorithms include treetop detection and crown boundary delineation
[...] Read more.
In recent years, airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) that provided three-dimensional forest information has been widely applied in forest inventory and has shown great potential in automatic individual tree crown delineation (ITCD). Usually, ITCD algorithms include treetop detection and crown boundary delineation procedures. In this study, we proposed a novel method called region-based hierarchical cross-section analysis (RHCSA), which combined the two procedures together based on a canopy height model (CHM) derived from airborne LiDAR data for ITCD. This method considers the CHM as a three-dimensional topological surface, simulates stereoscopic scanning from top to bottom using an iterative process, and utilizes the individual crown and vertical structure of crowns to progressively detect individual treetops and delineate crown boundaries. The proposed method was tested in natural forest stands with high canopy densities in Liangshui National Nature Reserve and Maoershan Forest Farm, Heilongjiang Province, China. Its performance was evaluated by an accuracy procedure that considered both the relative position of treetops and overlapped area of crowns. The average overall accuracy achieved was 85.12% for coniferous plots, 83.86% for deciduous plots and 86.44% for coniferous and broad-leaved mixed forest plots. The results revealed that the RHCSA method can detect and delineate individual tree crowns with little influence from forest types and crown size. It could provide technical support for individual tree crown delineation in coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests with high canopy densities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle Computing Coastal Ocean Surface Currents from MODIS and VIIRS Satellite Imagery
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1083; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101083
Received: 26 August 2017 / Revised: 1 October 2017 / Accepted: 5 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
We explore the potential of computing coastal ocean surface currents from Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellite imagery using the maximum cross-correlation (MCC) method. To improve on past versions of this method, we evaluate combining MODIS and
[...] Read more.
We explore the potential of computing coastal ocean surface currents from Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) satellite imagery using the maximum cross-correlation (MCC) method. To improve on past versions of this method, we evaluate combining MODIS and VIIRS thermal infrared (IR) and ocean color (OC) imagery to map the coastal surface currents and discuss the benefits of this combination of sensors and optical channels. By combining these two sensors, the total number of vectors increases by 58.3 % . In addition, we also make use of the different surface patterns of IR and OC imagery to improve the tracking performance of the MCC method. By merging the MCC velocity fields inferred from IR and OC products, the spatial coverage of each individual MCC field is increased by 65.8 % relative to the vectors derived from OC images. The root mean square (RMS) error of the merged currents is 18 cm · s 1 compared with coincident HF radar surface currents. A 5-year long time serious of merged MCC computed currents was used to investigate the current structure of the California Current (CC). Weekly, seasonal, and 5-year mean flows provide a unique space-time picture of the oceanographic variability of the CC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ocean Surface Currents: Progress in Remote Sensing and Validation)
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Open AccessArticle A 33-Year NPP Monitoring Study in Southwest China by the Fusion of Multi-Source Remote Sensing and Station Data
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1082; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101082
Received: 24 July 2017 / Revised: 7 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
Knowledge of regional net primary productivity (NPP) is important for the systematic understanding of the global carbon cycle. In this study, multi-source data were employed to conduct a regional NPP study in southwest China, with a 33-year time span and a 1-km scale.
[...] Read more.
Knowledge of regional net primary productivity (NPP) is important for the systematic understanding of the global carbon cycle. In this study, multi-source data were employed to conduct a regional NPP study in southwest China, with a 33-year time span and a 1-km scale. A multi-sensor fusion framework was applied to obtain a new normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time series from 1982 to 2014, combining the advantages of different remote sensing datasets. As another key parameter for NPP modeling, the total solar radiation was calculated utilizing the improved Yang hybrid model (YHM), based on meteorological station data. The accuracy of the data processes is proved reliable by verification experiments. Moreover, NPP estimated by fused NDVI shows an obvious improved accuracy than that based on the original data. The spatio-temporal analysis results indicated that 67% of the study area showed an increasing NPP trend over the past three decades. The correlation between NPP and precipitation was significant heterogeneous at the monthly scale; specifically, the correlation is negative in the growing season and positive in the dry season. Meanwhile, the lagged positive correlation in the growing season and no lag in the dry season indicated the important impacts of precipitation on NPP. What is more, we found that there are three distinct stages during the variation of NPP, which were driven by different climatic factors. Significant climate warming led to a great increase of NPP from 1992 to 2002, while NPP clearly decreased during 1982–1992 and 2002–2014 due to the frequent droughts caused by the precipitation decrease. Full article
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Open AccessLetter Vis-NIR Spectroscopy and PLS Regression with Waveband Selection for Estimating the Total C and N of Paddy Soils in Madagascar
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1081; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101081
Received: 20 September 2017 / Revised: 19 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2272 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Visible and near-infrared (Vis-NIR) diffuse reflectance spectroscopy with partial least squares (PLS) regression is a quick, cost-effective, and promising technology for predicting soil properties. The advantage of PLS regression is that all available wavebands can be incorporated in the model, while earlier studies
[...] Read more.
Visible and near-infrared (Vis-NIR) diffuse reflectance spectroscopy with partial least squares (PLS) regression is a quick, cost-effective, and promising technology for predicting soil properties. The advantage of PLS regression is that all available wavebands can be incorporated in the model, while earlier studies indicate that PLS models include redundant wavelengths, and selecting specific wavebands can refine PLS analyses. This study evaluated the performance of PLS regression with waveband selection using Vis-NIR reflectance spectra to estimate the total carbon (TC) and total nitrogen (TN) in soils collected mainly from the surface of upland and lowland rice fields in Madagascar (n = 59; after outliers were removed). We used iterative stepwise elimination-based PLS (ISE-PLS) to estimate soil TC and TN and compared the predictive ability with standard full-spectrum PLS (FS-PLS). The predictive abilities were assessed using the coefficient of determination (R2), the root mean squared error of cross-validation (RMSECV), and the residual predictive deviation (RPD). Overall, ISE-PLS using first derivative reflectance (FDR) showed a better predictive accuracy than ISE-PLS for both TC (R2 = 0.972, RMSECV = 0.194, RPD = 5.995) and TN (R2 = 0.949, RMSECV = 0.019, RPD = 4.416) in the soil of Madagascar. The important wavebands for estimating TC (12.59% of all wavebands) and TN (3.55% of all wavebands) were selected from all 2001 wavebands over the 400–2400 nm range using ISE-PLS. These findings suggest that ISE-PLS based on Vis-NIR diffuse reflectance spectra can be used to estimate soil TC and TN contents in Madagascar with an improved predictive accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Open AccessArticle Sharpening the VNIR and SWIR Bands of Sentinel-2A Imagery through Modified Selected and Synthesized Band Schemes
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1080; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101080
Received: 19 July 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4803 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In this work, the bands of a Sentinel-2A image with spatial resolutions of 20 m and 60 m are sharpened to a spatial resolution of 10 m to obtain visible and near-infrared (VNIR) and shortwave infrared (SWIR) spectral bands with a spatial resolution
[...] Read more.
In this work, the bands of a Sentinel-2A image with spatial resolutions of 20 m and 60 m are sharpened to a spatial resolution of 10 m to obtain visible and near-infrared (VNIR) and shortwave infrared (SWIR) spectral bands with a spatial resolution of 10 m. In particular, we propose a two-step sharpening algorithm for Sentinel-2A imagery based on modified, selected, and synthesized band schemes using layer-stacked bands to sharpen Sentinel-2A images. The modified selected and synthesized band schemes proposed in this study extend the existing band schemes for sharpening Sentinel-2A images with spatial resolutions of 20 m and 60 m to improve the pan-sharpening accuracy by changing the combinations of bands used for multiple linear regression analysis through band-layer stacking. The proposed algorithms are applied to the pan-sharpening algorithm based on component substitution (CS) and a multiresolution analysis (MRA), and our results are then compared to the sharpening results when using sharpening algorithms based on existing band schemes. The experimental results show that the sharpening results from the proposed algorithm are improved in terms of the spatial and spectral properties when compared to existing methods. However, the results of the sharpening algorithm when applied to our modified band schemes show differing tendencies. With the modified, selected band scheme, the sharpening result when applying the CS-based algorithm is higher than the result when applying the MRA-based algorithm. However, the quality of the sharpening results when using the MRA-based algorithm with the modified synthesized band scheme is higher than that when using the CS-based algorithm. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Data Synergy between Altimetry and L-Band Passive Microwave Remote Sensing for the Retrieval of Sea Ice Parameters—A Theoretical Study of Methodology
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1079; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101079
Received: 6 August 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
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Abstract
Accurate knowledge of the sea ice parameters, including the thickness and the snow depth over sea ice, are key to both climate change studies and operational forecast in polar regions. The estimation of these parameters mainly relies on satellite based remote sensing, and
[...] Read more.
Accurate knowledge of the sea ice parameters, including the thickness and the snow depth over sea ice, are key to both climate change studies and operational forecast in polar regions. The estimation of these parameters mainly relies on satellite based remote sensing, and current retrieval algorithms usually focus on the retrieval of a single parameter under simple assumptions over the other. In this article, we explore the potential of combined retrieval of both sea ice thickness and snow depth through the data synergy two types of concurrent observations of the sea ice cover: the active altimetry and the L-band passive remote sensing. The data synergy is based on two physical constrains: (1) L-band (1.4 GHz) radiation model for the sea ice cover, and (2) the hydrostatic equilibrium as used in satellite altimetry. Two schemes of data synergy are proposed: (1) the synergy between L-band brightness temperature ( T B ) from passive microwave remote sensing and sea ice freeboard ( F B i c e ) as measured by radar altimetry, and (2) the synergy between L-band T B and snow freeboard ( F B s n o w ) as measured by laser altimetry. Based on retrievability studies, we show that both parameters can be retrieved using the two sets of data. Specifically, we show that there is potential problem of ill-posedness for the synergy between L-band T B and F B s n o w , with two possible retrieval solutions for a small portion of the solution space. On the other hand, the synergy between L-band T B and F B i c e is always well-posed. In terms of sensitivity, lower uncertainty is witnessed for thin ice for the retrieval with F B i c e , while the retrieval with F B s n o w shows advantage for thick ice. Besides the input parameters of T B , F B i c e and F B s n o w , the uncertainty associated with certain model parameters such as snow and ice densities is not negligible for the uncertainty estimation of the retrieved parameters. Verification is carried out with observational data from Operation IceBridge (OIB) campaigns and SMOS satellite, showing that both sea ice thickness and snow depth can be attained by the proposed retrieval algorithms. These algorithms serve as the basis for large-scale retrieval with satellite remote sensing data, including concurrent observation of the Arctic Ocean by independent satellite campaigns such as SMOS, CryoSat-2 and ICESat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle Agricultural Soil Spectral Response and Properties Assessment: Effects of Measurement Protocol and Data Mining Technique
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1078; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101078
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 15 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4172 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil spectroscopy has shown to be a fast, cost-effective, environmentally friendly, non-destructive, reproducible and repeatable analytical technique. Soil components, as well as types of instruments, protocols, sampling methods, sample preparation, spectral acquisition techniques and analytical algorithms have a combined influence on the final
[...] Read more.
Soil spectroscopy has shown to be a fast, cost-effective, environmentally friendly, non-destructive, reproducible and repeatable analytical technique. Soil components, as well as types of instruments, protocols, sampling methods, sample preparation, spectral acquisition techniques and analytical algorithms have a combined influence on the final performance. Therefore, it is important to characterize these differences and to introduce an effective approach in order to minimize the technical factors that alter reflectance spectra and consequent prediction. To quantify this alteration, a joint project between Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS) and Tel-Aviv University (TAU) was conducted to estimate Cox, pH-H2O, pH-KCl and selected forms of Fe and Mn. Two different soil spectral measurement protocols and two data mining techniques were used to examine seventy-eight soil samples from five agricultural areas in different parts of the Czech Republic. Spectral measurements at both laboratories were made using different ASD spectroradiometers. The CULS protocol was based on employing a contact probe (CP) spectral measurement scheme, while the TAU protocol was carried out using a CP measurement method, accompanied with the internal soil standard (ISS) procedure. Two spectral datasets, acquired from different protocols, were both analyzed using partial least square regression (PLSR) technique as well as the PARACUDA II®, a new data mining engine for optimizing PLSR models. The results showed that spectra based on the CULS setup (non-ISS) demonstrated significantly higher albedo intensity and reflectance values relative to the TAU setup with ISS. However, the majority of statistics using the TAU protocol was not noticeably better than the CULS spectra. The paper also highlighted that under both measurement protocols, the PARACUDA II® engine proved to be a powerful tool for providing better results than PLSR. Such initiative is not only a way to unlock current limitations of soil spectroscopy, but also offers considerable efficiency and cost- and time-saving possibilities, which lead to further improvements in prediction performance of spectral models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Improving Jason-2 Sea Surface Heights within 10 km Offshore by Retracking Decontaminated Waveforms
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1077; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101077
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
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Abstract
It is widely believed that altimetry-derived sea surface heights (SSHs) in coastal zones are seriously degraded due to land contamination in altimeter waveforms from non-marine surfaces or due to inhomogeneous sea state conditions. Spurious peaks superimposed in radar waveforms adversely impact waveform retracking
[...] Read more.
It is widely believed that altimetry-derived sea surface heights (SSHs) in coastal zones are seriously degraded due to land contamination in altimeter waveforms from non-marine surfaces or due to inhomogeneous sea state conditions. Spurious peaks superimposed in radar waveforms adversely impact waveform retracking and hence require tailored algorithms to mitigate this problem. Here, we present an improved method to decontaminate coastal waveforms based on the waveform modification concept. SSHs within 10 km offshore are calculated from Jason-2 data by a 20% threshold retracker using decontaminated waveforms (DW-TR) and compared with those using original waveforms and modified waveforms in four study regions. We then compare our results with retracked SSHs in the sensor geophysical data record (SGDR) and with the state-of-the-art PISTACH (Prototype Innovant de Système de Traitement pour les Applications Côtières et l’Hydrologie) and ALES (Adaptive Leading Edge Subwaveform) products. Our result indicates that the DW-TR is the most robust retracker in the 0–10 km coastal band and provides consistent accuracy up to 1 km away from the coastline. In the four test regions, the DW-TR retracker outperforms other retrackers, with the smallest averaged standard deviations at 15 cm and 20 cm, as compared against the EGM08 (Earth Gravitational Model 2008) geoid model and tide gauge data, respectively. For the SGDR products, only the ICE retracker provides competitive SSHs for coastal applications. Subwaveform retrackers such as ICE3, RED3 and ALES perform well beyond 8 km offshore, but seriously degrade in the 0–8 km strip along the coast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Altimetry for Earth Sciences)
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Open AccessArticle Impacts of Airborne Lidar Pulse Density on Estimating Biomass Stocks and Changes in a Selectively Logged Tropical Forest
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101068
Received: 3 September 2017 / Revised: 4 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 23 October 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (6203 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Airborne lidar is a technology well-suited for mapping many forest attributes, including aboveground biomass (AGB) stocks and changes in selective logging in tropical forests. However, trade-offs still exist between lidar pulse density and accuracy of AGB estimates. We assessed the impacts of lidar
[...] Read more.
Airborne lidar is a technology well-suited for mapping many forest attributes, including aboveground biomass (AGB) stocks and changes in selective logging in tropical forests. However, trade-offs still exist between lidar pulse density and accuracy of AGB estimates. We assessed the impacts of lidar pulse density on the estimation of AGB stocks and changes using airborne lidar and field plot data in a selectively logged tropical forest located near Paragominas, Pará, Brazil. Field-derived AGB was computed at 85 square 50 × 50 m plots in 2014. Lidar data were acquired in 2012 and 2014, and for each dataset the pulse density was subsampled from its original density of 13.8 and 37.5 pulses·m−2 to lower densities of 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 0.8, 0.6, 0.4 and 0.2 pulses·m−2. For each pulse density dataset, a power-law model was developed to estimate AGB stocks from lidar-derived mean height and corresponding changes between the years 2012 and 2014. We found that AGB change estimates at the plot level were only slightly affected by pulse density. However, at the landscape level we observed differences in estimated AGB change of >20 Mg·ha−1 when pulse density decreased from 12 to 0.2 pulses·m−2. The effects of pulse density were more pronounced in areas of steep slope, especially when the digital terrain models (DTMs) used in the lidar derived forest height were created from reduced pulse density data. In particular, when the DTM from high pulse density in 2014 was used to derive the forest height from both years, the effects on forest height and the estimated AGB stock and changes did not exceed 20 Mg·ha−1. The results suggest that AGB change can be monitored in selective logging in tropical forests with reasonable accuracy and low cost with low pulse density lidar surveys if a baseline high-quality DTM is available from at least one lidar survey. We recommend the results of this study to be considered in developing projects and national level MRV systems for REDD+ emission reduction programs for tropical forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Remote Sensing in Forest Landscapes)
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Open AccessArticle Using Satellite Data for the Characterization of Local Animal Reservoir Populations of Hantaan Virus on the Weihe Plain, China
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1076; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101076
Received: 19 September 2017 / Revised: 15 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 22 October 2017
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Abstract
Striped field mice (Apodemus agrarius) are the main host for the Hantaan virus (HTNV), the cause of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in central China. It has been shown that host population density is associated with pathogen dynamics and disease
[...] Read more.
Striped field mice (Apodemus agrarius) are the main host for the Hantaan virus (HTNV), the cause of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) in central China. It has been shown that host population density is associated with pathogen dynamics and disease risk. Thus, a higher population density of A. agrarius in an area might indicate a higher risk for an HFRS outbreak. Here, we surveyed the A. agrarius population density between 2005 and 2012 on the Weihe Plain, Shaanxi Province, China, and used this monitoring data to examine the relationships between the dynamics of A. agrarius populations and environmental conditions of crop-land, represented by remote sensing based indicators. These included the normalized difference vegetation index, leaf area index, fraction of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by vegetation, net photosynthesis (PsnNet), gross primary productivity, and land surface temperature. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was applied to detect the possible causal relationship between PsnNet, A. agrarius population density and HFRS risk. The results showed that A. agrarius was the most frequently captured species with a capture rate of 0.9 individuals per hundred trap-nights, during 96 months of trapping in the study area. The risk of HFRS was highly associated with the abundance of A. agrarius, with a 1–5-month lag. The breeding season of A. agrarius was also found to coincide with agricultural activity and seasons with high PsnNet. The SEM indicated that PsnNet had an indirect positive effect on HFRS incidence via rodents. In conclusion, the remote sensing-based environmental indicator, PsnNet, was highly correlated with HTNV reservoir population dynamics with a 3-month lag (r = 0.46, p < 0.01), and may serve as a predictor of potential HFRS outbreaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Applications to Human Health)
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Open AccessTechnical Note Usability Study to Assess the IGBP Land Cover Classification for Singapore
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1075; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101075
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 22 October 2017
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Abstract
Our research focuses on assessing the usability of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) classification scheme provided in the MODIS MCD12Q1-1 dataset for assessing the land cover of the city-state, Singapore. We conducted a user study with responses from 33 users by providing
[...] Read more.
Our research focuses on assessing the usability of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP) classification scheme provided in the MODIS MCD12Q1-1 dataset for assessing the land cover of the city-state, Singapore. We conducted a user study with responses from 33 users by providing them with Google Earth images from different parts of Singapore, asking survey-takers to classify these images according to their understanding by the IGBP definitions provided. We also conducted interviews with experts from major governmental agencies working with satellite imagery, which highlighted the need for a detailed land classification for Singapore. In addition to the qualitative analysis of the IGBP land classification scheme, we carried out a validation of the MCD12Q1-1 remote sensing product against SPOT-5 imagery for our study area. The user study revealed that survey-takers were able to correctly classify urban areas, as well as densely forested areas. Misclassifications between Cropland and Mixed Forest classes were highest and were attributed by users to the broad terminology of the IGBP of the two land cover class definitions. For the accuracy assessment, we obtained validation points using weighted and unweighted stratified sampling. The overall classification accuracy for all 17 IGBP land classes is 62%. Upon selecting only the four most occurring IGBP land classes in Singapore, the classification accuracy improved to 71%. Validation of the MCD12Q1-1 against ground truth for Singapore revealed less-common land classes that may be of importance in a global context but are sources of error when the same product is applied at a smaller scale. Combining the user study with the accuracy assessment gives a comprehensive overview of the challenges associated with using global-level land cover data to derive localized land cover information specifically for smaller land masses like Singapore. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS and Remote Sensing advances in Land Change Science)
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Open AccessArticle Nonnegative Matrix Factorization With Data-Guided Constraints For Hyperspectral Unmixing
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1074; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101074
Received: 7 August 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
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Abstract
Hyperspectral unmixing aims to estimate a set of endmembers and corresponding abundances in pixels. Nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF) and its extensions with various constraints have been widely applied to hyperspectral unmixing. L1/2 and L2 regularizers can be added to
[...] Read more.
Hyperspectral unmixing aims to estimate a set of endmembers and corresponding abundances in pixels. Nonnegative matrix factorization (NMF) and its extensions with various constraints have been widely applied to hyperspectral unmixing. L 1 / 2 and L 2 regularizers can be added to NMF to enforce sparseness and evenness, respectively. In practice, a region in a hyperspectral image may possess different sparsity levels across locations. The problem remains as to how to impose constraints accordingly when the level of sparsity varies. We propose a novel nonnegative matrix factorization with data-guided constraints (DGC-NMF). The DGC-NMF imposes on the unknown abundance vector of each pixel with either an L 1 / 2 constraint or an L 2 constraint according to its estimated mixture level. Experiments on the synthetic data and real hyperspectral data validate the proposed algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hyperspectral Imaging and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle The Methane Isotopologues by Solar Occultation (MISO) Nanosatellite Mission: Spectral Channel Optimization and Early Performance Analysis
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1073; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101073
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 17 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
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Abstract
MISO is an in-orbit demonstration mission that focuses on improving the representation of the methane distribution throughout the upper troposphere and stratosphere, to complement and augment the nadir- and zenith-looking methane observing system for a better understanding of the methane budget. MISO also
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MISO is an in-orbit demonstration mission that focuses on improving the representation of the methane distribution throughout the upper troposphere and stratosphere, to complement and augment the nadir- and zenith-looking methane observing system for a better understanding of the methane budget. MISO also aims to raise to space mission readiness the concept of laser heterodyne spectro-radiometry (LHR) and associated miniaturization technologies, through demonstration of Doppler-limited atmospheric transmittance spectroscopy of methane from a nanosatellite platform suitable for future constellation deployment. The instrumental and engineering approach to MISO is briefly presented to demonstrate the technical feasibility of the mission. LHR operates using narrow spectral coverage (<1 cm−1) focusing on a few carefully chosen individual ro-vibrational transitions. A line-by-line spectral channel selection methodology is developed and used to optimize spectral channel selection relevant to methane isotopologue sounding from co-registered thermal infrared and short-wave infrared LHR. One of the selected windows is then used to carry out a first performance analysis of methane retrievals based on measurement noise propagation. This preliminary analysis of a single observation demonstrates an ideal instrumental precision of <1% for altitudes in the range 8–20 km, <5% for 20–30 km and <10% up to 37 km on a single isotopologue profile, which leaves a significant reserve for real-world error budget degradation and bodes well for the mission feasibility. MISO could realistically demonstrate methane limb sounding at Doppler-limited spectral resolution, even from a cost-effective 6 dm3 nanosatellite. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Greenhouse Gases)
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Open AccessArticle The Geometry of Large Tundra Lakes Observed in Historical Maps and Satellite Images
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1072; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101072
Received: 9 September 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
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Abstract
The climate of the Arctic is warming rapidly and this is causing major changes to the cycling of carbon and the distribution of permafrost in this region. Tundra lakes are key components of the Arctic climate system because they represent a source of
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The climate of the Arctic is warming rapidly and this is causing major changes to the cycling of carbon and the distribution of permafrost in this region. Tundra lakes are key components of the Arctic climate system because they represent a source of methane to the atmosphere. In this paper, we aim to analyze the geometry of the patterns formed by large (> 0.8 km 2 ) tundra lakes in the Russian High Arctic. We have studied images of tundra lakes in historical maps from the State Hydrological Institute, Russia (date 1977; scale 0.21166 km/pixel) and in Landsat satellite images derived from the Google Earth Engine (G.E.E.; date 2016; scale 0.1503 km/pixel). The G.E.E. is a cloud-based platform for planetary-scale geospatial analysis on over four decades of Landsat data. We developed an image-processing algorithm to segment these maps and images, measure the area and perimeter of each lake, and compute the fractal dimension of the lakes in the images we have studied. Our results indicate that as lake size increases, their fractal dimension bifurcates. For lakes observed in historical maps, this bifurcation occurs among lakes larger than 100 km 2 (fractal dimension 1.43 to 1.87 ). For lakes observed in satellite images this bifurcation occurs among lakes larger than ∼100 km 2 (fractal dimension 1.31 to 1.95 ). Tundra lakes with a fractal dimension close to 2 have a tendency to be self-similar with respect to their area–perimeter relationships. Area–perimeter measurements indicate that lakes with a length scale greater than 70 km 2 are power-law distributed. Preliminary analysis of changes in lake size over time in paired lakes (lakes that were visually matched in both the historical map and the satellite imagery) indicate that some lakes in our study region have increased in size over time, whereas others have decreased in size over time. Lake size change during this 39-year time interval can be up to half the size of the lake as recorded in the historical map. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Arctic Tundra)
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Open AccessArticle Phenocams Bridge the Gap between Field and Satellite Observations in an Arid Grassland Ecosystem
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101071
Received: 20 September 2017 / Revised: 14 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 21 October 2017
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Abstract
Near surface (i.e., camera) and satellite remote sensing metrics have become widely used indicators of plant growing seasons. While robust linkages have been established between field metrics and ecosystem exchange in many land cover types, assessment of how well remotely-derived season start and
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Near surface (i.e., camera) and satellite remote sensing metrics have become widely used indicators of plant growing seasons. While robust linkages have been established between field metrics and ecosystem exchange in many land cover types, assessment of how well remotely-derived season start and end dates depict field conditions in arid ecosystems remain unknown. We evaluated the correspondence between field measures of start (SOS; leaves unfolded and canopy greenness >0) and end of season (EOS) and canopy greenness for two widespread species in southwestern U.S. ecosystems with those metrics estimated from near-surface cameras and MODIS NDVI for five years (2012–2016). Using Timesat software to estimate SOS and EOS from the phenocam green chromatic coordinate (GCC) greenness index resulted in good agreement with ground observations for honey mesquite but not black grama. Despite differences in the detectability of SOS and EOS for the two species, GCC was significantly correlated with field estimates of canopy greenness for both species throughout the growing season. MODIS NDVI for this arid grassland site was driven by the black grama signal although a mesquite signal was discernable in average rainfall years. Our findings suggest phenocams could help meet myriad needs in natural resource management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Surface Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle Mapping Water Quality Parameters with Sentinel-3 Ocean and Land Colour Instrument imagery in the Baltic Sea
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1070; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101070
Received: 2 August 2017 / Revised: 22 September 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 20 October 2017
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Abstract
The launch of Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) on board Sentinel-3A in 2016 is the beginning of a new era in long time, continuous, high frequency water quality monitoring of coastal waters. Therefore, there is a strong need to validate the OLCI
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The launch of Ocean and Land Colour Instrument (OLCI) on board Sentinel-3A in 2016 is the beginning of a new era in long time, continuous, high frequency water quality monitoring of coastal waters. Therefore, there is a strong need to validate the OLCI products to be sure that the technical capabilities provided will be used in the best possible way in water quality monitoring and research. The Baltic Sea is an optically complex waterbody where many ocean colour products, performing well in other waterbodies, fail. We tested the performance of standard Case-2 Regional/Coast Colour (C2RCC) processing chain in retrieving water reflectance, inherent optical properties (IOPs), and water quality parameters such as chlorophyll a, total suspended matter (TSM) and coloured dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in the Baltic Sea. The reflectance spectra produced by the C2RCC are realistic in both shape and magnitude. However, the IOPs, and consequently the water quality parameters estimated by the C2RCC, did not have correlation with in situ data. On the other hand, some tested empirical remote sensing algorithms performed well in retrieving chlorophyll a, TSM, CDOM and Secchi depth from the reflectance produced by the C2RCC. This suggests that the atmospheric correction part of the processor performs relatively well while IOP retrieval part of the neural network needs extensive training with actual IOP data before it can produce reasonable estimates for the Baltic Sea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Water Quality)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of the Hydro-Ecological Impacts of the Three Gorges Dam on China’s Largest Freshwater Lake
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1069; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101069
Received: 26 July 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 18 October 2017 / Published: 20 October 2017
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Abstract
The Three Gorges Dam (TGD) has received increasing attention with respect to its potential effects on downstream hydro-ecosystems. Poyang Lake is the largest freshwater lake downstream of the TGD, and it is not immune to these impacts. Here, we combine hydrological observations, remote
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The Three Gorges Dam (TGD) has received increasing attention with respect to its potential effects on downstream hydro-ecosystems. Poyang Lake is the largest freshwater lake downstream of the TGD, and it is not immune to these impacts. Here, we combine hydrological observations, remote sensing, a geographic information system (GIS), and landscape ecology technology to investigate the variability and spatial pattern of the hydro-ecological alterations to Poyang Lake induced by the operation of the TGD. It was found that the TGD caused significant hydro-ecological alterations across the Poyang Lake wetland. Specifically, the TGD operation altered the seasonal inundation pattern of Poyang Lake and significantly reduced the monthly inundation frequencies (IFs), which were especially notable (~30–40%) from September to November. Spatially, the declining IFs led to an increase in the mudflat area that is suitable for the growth of vegetation. The vegetation area increased by 58.82 km2 and 463.73 km2 in the low- and high-water season, respectively, with the most significant changes occurring in the estuary delta of the Ganjiang and Raohe rivers. The results also indicated that the changes in the inundation pattern and floodplain vegetation have profoundly altered the structure and composition of the wetland, which has resulted in increased landscape diversity and a gradual increase in the complexity of the ecosystem composition under the influence of regulation of the TGD. Such results are of great importance for policymakers, as they may provide a reference for wetland water resource planning and landscape restoration in an operational dam environment. Full article
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Open AccessReview The Potential of Earth Observation for the Analysis of Cold Region Land Surface Dynamics in Europe—A Review
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101067
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 13 October 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 19 October 2017
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Abstract
Cold regions affect global, regional and local climate; oftentimes they are relevant for water supply, host valuable ecosystems, and support human livelihood. They are thus eminently important for human society. In the context of ongoing climate change, monitoring and understanding cold region land
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Cold regions affect global, regional and local climate; oftentimes they are relevant for water supply, host valuable ecosystems, and support human livelihood. They are thus eminently important for human society. In the context of ongoing climate change, monitoring and understanding cold region land surface dynamics is essential for environmental scientists, stakeholders and decision makers. However, the definition of cold regions remains inexplicit, and no up-to-date cold region maps or overarching spatial analyses exist. For example, Europe has densely populated cold regions, but hardly an article exists that provides a solid overview of Earth Observation (EO) based applications assessing cold region land surface dynamics in Europe. With this review article we aim at closing this gap by providing an overview of EO-based techniques for cold region observation in Europe, focusing on the dynamics of glaciers and snow. We present a novel spatial delineation of cold regions for Europe before analyzing the benefits and limitations of different EO sensor types and data processing methods for EO based cold region research. Furthermore, we identify research gaps and discuss challenges for future studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Cooling Effect of Urban Parks and Its Monthly Variations in a Snow Climate City
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101066
Received: 24 August 2017 / Revised: 4 October 2017 / Accepted: 15 October 2017 / Published: 19 October 2017
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Abstract
Urban parks have been shown to form park cool islands (PCIs), which can effectively alleviate the negative influences of urban heat islands (UHI). However, few studies have examined the detailed characteristics of PCIs, the effect of urban park features on their individual temperatures,
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Urban parks have been shown to form park cool islands (PCIs), which can effectively alleviate the negative influences of urban heat islands (UHI). However, few studies have examined the detailed characteristics of PCIs, the effect of urban park features on their individual temperatures, and monthly variation in PCIs. Land surface temperature (LST) retrieved from Landsat 8 TIR images between May and October were used to represent the thermal environment. Urban park characteristics were extracted from high-resolution GF-2 images. Using these datasets, the relationships between urban park characteristics and PCIs were explored in this study using Changchun, which has a snow climate, as a case study. The results showed the following: (1) the urban parks exhibited a cooling island effect, and the PCIs showed significant monthly variations with the highest intensities in the hot months; (2) the effects of composition (e.g., park size and the percentage of water area) on LSTs and PCIs showed significant monthly variability and were stronger than the configuration effects. Furthermore, an unexpected, negative correlation between PCIs and the area of park grass was also found; and (3) larger parks tended to have stronger PCI intensities and extents of influence. For parks larger than 30 ha, the cooling effects extended approximately 480 m from the park edge between June and August. For all of parks during the study duration, the rate of temperature increase was highest within 60 m from the park edge. The PCI we employ specifically in this study is characterized by LST. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle Nominal 30-m Cropland Extent Map of Continental Africa by Integrating Pixel-Based and Object-Based Algorithms Using Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 Data on Google Earth Engine
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1065; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101065
Received: 11 July 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 19 October 2017
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (13160 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A satellite-derived cropland extent map at high spatial resolution (30-m or better) is a must for food and water security analysis. Precise and accurate global cropland extent maps, indicating cropland and non-cropland areas, are starting points to develop higher-level products such as crop
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A satellite-derived cropland extent map at high spatial resolution (30-m or better) is a must for food and water security analysis. Precise and accurate global cropland extent maps, indicating cropland and non-cropland areas, are starting points to develop higher-level products such as crop watering methods (irrigated or rainfed), cropping intensities (e.g., single, double, or continuous cropping), crop types, cropland fallows, as well as for assessment of cropland productivity (productivity per unit of land), and crop water productivity (productivity per unit of water). Uncertainties associated with the cropland extent map have cascading effects on all higher-level cropland products. However, precise and accurate cropland extent maps at high spatial resolution over large areas (e.g., continents or the globe) are challenging to produce due to the small-holder dominant agricultural systems like those found in most of Africa and Asia. Cloud-based geospatial computing platforms and multi-date, multi-sensor satellite image inventories on Google Earth Engine offer opportunities for mapping croplands with precision and accuracy over large areas that satisfy the requirements of broad range of applications. Such maps are expected to provide highly significant improvements compared to existing products, which tend to be coarser in resolution, and often fail to capture fragmented small-holder farms especially in regions with high dynamic change within and across years. To overcome these limitations, in this research we present an approach for cropland extent mapping at high spatial resolution (30-m or better) using the 10-day, 10 to 20-m, Sentinel-2 data in combination with 16-day, 30-m, Landsat-8 data on Google Earth Engine (GEE). First, nominal 30-m resolution satellite imagery composites were created from 36,924 scenes of Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 images for the entire African continent in 2015–2016. These composites were generated using a median-mosaic of five bands (blue, green, red, near-infrared, NDVI) during each of the two periods (period 1: January–June 2016 and period 2: July–December 2015) plus a 30-m slope layer derived from the Shuttle Radar Topographic Mission (SRTM) elevation dataset. Second, we selected Cropland/Non-cropland training samples (sample size = 9791) from various sources in GEE to create pixel-based classifications. As supervised classification algorithm, Random Forest (RF) was used as the primary classifier because of its efficiency, and when over-fitting issues of RF happened due to the noise of input training data, Support Vector Machine (SVM) was applied to compensate for such defects in specific areas. Third, the Recursive Hierarchical Segmentation (RHSeg) algorithm was employed to generate an object-oriented segmentation layer based on spectral and spatial properties from the same input data. This layer was merged with the pixel-based classification to improve segmentation accuracy. Accuracies of the merged 30-m crop extent product were computed using an error matrix approach in which 1754 independent validation samples were used. In addition, a comparison was performed with other available cropland maps as well as with LULC maps to show spatial similarity. Finally, the cropland area results derived from the map were compared with UN FAO statistics. The independent accuracy assessment showed a weighted overall accuracy of 94%, with a producer’s accuracy of 85.9% (or omission error of 14.1%), and user’s accuracy of 68.5% (commission error of 31.5%) for the cropland class. The total net cropland area (TNCA) of Africa was estimated as 313 Mha for the nominal year 2015. The online product, referred to as the Global Food Security-support Analysis Data @ 30-m for the African Continent, Cropland Extent product (GFSAD30AFCE) is distributed through the NASA’s Land Processes Distributed Active Archive Center (LP DAAC) as (available for download by 10 November 2017 or earlier): https://doi.org/10.5067/MEaSUREs/GFSAD/GFSAD30AFCE.001 and can be viewed at https://croplands.org/app/map. Causes of uncertainty and limitations within the crop extent product are discussed in detail. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Google Earth Engine Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial-Temporal Characteristics of Glacier Velocity in the Central Karakoram Revealed with 1999–2003 Landsat-7 ETM+ Pan Images
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101064
Received: 26 July 2017 / Revised: 2 October 2017 / Accepted: 15 October 2017 / Published: 19 October 2017
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Abstract
The situation of stable and slightly advancing glaciers in the Karakoram is called the “Karakoram anomaly”. Glacier surface velocity is one of the key parameters of glacier dynamics and mass balance, however, the response of glacier motion to this regional anomaly is not
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The situation of stable and slightly advancing glaciers in the Karakoram is called the “Karakoram anomaly”. Glacier surface velocity is one of the key parameters of glacier dynamics and mass balance, however, the response of glacier motion to this regional anomaly is not fully understood. Here, we characterize the spatial-temporal variations in glacier velocity over the Central Karakoram from 1999–2003. The inter-annual glacier velocity fields were retrieved using a cross-correlation-based algorithm applied to four Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) panchromatic image pairs. We find that most of the glaciers on the southern slope flowed faster than those on the northern slope, which might be attributed to the differences in glacier sizes. Furthermore, ice motion observations over four years reveal that most of the glaciers were quasi-stable or experienced small fluctuations of flow velocity during our study period. We identify a new surging event for the South Skamri Glacier in the study period by investigating the glacier frontal changes and the longer-term time series of surface velocities between 1996 and 2006. From the transverse velocity profiles of seven typical glaciers, we infer that basal sliding is the predominant motion mechanism of the middle and upper glaciers, whereas internal deformation dominates closest to the glacier terminus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Glaciers)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of MODIS-Aqua Atmospheric Correction and Chlorophyll Products of Western North American Coastal Waters Based on 13 Years of Data
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101063
Received: 26 July 2017 / Revised: 9 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 October 2017 / Published: 19 October 2017
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Abstract
There is an increasing need for satellite-derived accurate chlorophyll-a concentration (chla) products to improve fisheries management in coastal regions. However, the methods used to derive these products have to be evaluated, so the associated uncertainties are known. The performance of
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There is an increasing need for satellite-derived accurate chlorophyll-a concentration (chla) products to improve fisheries management in coastal regions. However, the methods used to derive these products have to be evaluated, so the associated uncertainties are known. The performance of three atmospheric correction methods, the near infrared (NIR), the shortwave infrared (SWIR), and the Management Unit of the North Seas Mathematical Models with an additional modification (MUMM + SWIR), and derived chla products based on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer AQUA (MODIS) images acquired from 2002 to 2014 over the west coast of Canada and the United States were evaluated. The atmospherically corrected products and above-water reflectance were compared with in situ AERONET (N ~ 650) and above-water reflectance (N ~ 34) data, and the Ocean Color 3 MODIS (OC3M)-derived chla were compared with in situ chla measurements (N ~ 82). The statistical analysis indicated that the MUMM + SWIR method was the most appropriate for this region, with relatively good retrievals of the atmospheric products, improved retrieval of remote sensing reflectance with bias lower than 20% for the OC3M bands, and improved retrievals of chla (r = 0.83, slope = 0.89, logRMSE = 0.33 mg m−3 for ±1 h). The poorest chla retrievals were achieved with the SWIR and NIR methods. These results represent the most comprehensive satellite data analysis of MODIS retrievals for this region and provide a framework for the MUMM + SWIR method that can be further tested in other coastal regions of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Water Quality)
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Open AccessArticle A Combined Approach for Filtering Ice Surface Velocity Fields Derived from Remote Sensing Methods
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1062; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101062
Received: 21 July 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 22 September 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
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Abstract
Various glaciological topics require observations of horizontal velocities over vast areas, e.g., detecting acceleration of glaciers, as well as for estimating basal parameters of ice sheets using inverse modelling approaches. The quality of the velocity is of high importance; hence, methods to remove
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Various glaciological topics require observations of horizontal velocities over vast areas, e.g., detecting acceleration of glaciers, as well as for estimating basal parameters of ice sheets using inverse modelling approaches. The quality of the velocity is of high importance; hence, methods to remove noisy points in remote sensing derived data are required. We present a three-step filtering process and assess its performance for velocity fields in Greenland and Antarctica. The filtering uses the detection of smooth segments, removal of outliers using the median and constraints on the variability of the flow direction over short distances. The applied filter preserves the structures in the velocity fields well (e.g., shear margins) and removes noisy data points successfully, while keeping 72–96% of the data. In slow flowing regions, which are particularly challenging, the standard deviation is reduced by up to 96%, an improvement that affects vast areas of the ice sheets. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Development of Seasonal BRDF Models to Extend the Use of Deep Convective Clouds as Invariant Targets for Satellite SWIR-Band Calibration
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101061
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
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Abstract
Tropical deep convective clouds (DCC) are an excellent invariant target for vicarious calibration of satellite visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR) solar bands. The DCC technique (DCCT) is a statistical approach that collectively analyzes all identified DCC pixels on a monthly basis. The DCC
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Tropical deep convective clouds (DCC) are an excellent invariant target for vicarious calibration of satellite visible (VIS) and near-infrared (NIR) solar bands. The DCC technique (DCCT) is a statistical approach that collectively analyzes all identified DCC pixels on a monthly basis. The DCC reflectance in VIS and NIR spectrums is mainly a function of cloud optical depth, and provides a stable monthly statistical mode. However, for absorption shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands, the monthly DCC response is found to exhibit large seasonal cycles that make the implementation of the DCCT more challenging at these wavelengths. The seasonality assumption was tested using the SNPP-VIIRS SWIR bands, with up to 50% of the monthly DCC response temporal variation removed through deseasonalization. In this article, a monthly DCC bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) approach is proposed, which is found to be comparable to or can outperform the effects of deseasonalization alone. To demonstrate that the SNPP-VIIRS DCC BRDF can be applied to other JPSS VIIRS imagers in the same 13:30 sun-synchronous orbit, the VIIRS DCC BRDF was applied to Aqua-MODIS. The Aqua-MODIS SWIR band DCC reflectance natural variability is reduced by up to 45% after applying the VIIRS-based monthly DCC BRDFs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exploring the Potential of WorldView-2 Red-Edge Band-Based Vegetation Indices for Estimation of Mangrove Leaf Area Index with Machine Learning Algorithms
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1060; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101060
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 26 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
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Abstract
To accurately estimate leaf area index (LAI) in mangrove areas, the selection of appropriate models and predictor variables is critical. However, there is a major challenge in quantifying and mapping LAI using multi-spectral sensors due to the saturation effects of traditional vegetation indices
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To accurately estimate leaf area index (LAI) in mangrove areas, the selection of appropriate models and predictor variables is critical. However, there is a major challenge in quantifying and mapping LAI using multi-spectral sensors due to the saturation effects of traditional vegetation indices (VIs) for mangrove forests. WorldView-2 (WV2) imagery has proven to be effective to estimate LAI of grasslands and forests, but the sensitivity of its vegetation indices (VIs) has been uncertain for mangrove forests. Furthermore, the single model may exhibit certain randomness and instability in model calibration and estimation accuracy. Therefore, this study aims to explore the sensitivity of WV2 VIs for estimating mangrove LAI by comparing artificial neural network regression (ANNR), support vector regression (SVR) and random forest regression (RFR). The results suggest that the RFR algorithm yields the best results (RMSE = 0.45, 14.55% of the average LAI), followed by ANNR (RMSE = 0.49, 16.04% of the average LAI), and then SVR (RMSE = 0.51, 16.56% of the average LAI) algorithms using 5-fold cross validation (CV) using all VIs. Quantification of the variable importance shows that the VIs derived from the red-edge band consistently remain the most important contributor to LAI estimation. When the red-edge band-derived VIs are removed from the models, estimation accuracies measured in relative RMSE (RMSEr) decrease by 3.79%, 2.70% and 4.47% for ANNR, SVR and RFR models respectively. VIs derived from red-edge band also yield better accuracy compared with other traditional bands of WV2, such as near-infrared-1 and near-infrared-2 band. Furthermore, the estimated LAI values vary significantly across different mangrove species. The study demonstrates the utility of VIs of WV2 imagery and the selected machine-learning algorithms in developing LAI models in mangrove forests. The results indicate that the red-edge band of WV2 imagery can help alleviate the saturation problem and improve the accuracy of LAI estimation in a mangrove area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Machine Learning Applications in Earth Science Big Data Analysis)
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Open AccessReview Biodiversity Monitoring in Changing Tropical Forests: A Review of Approaches and New Opportunities
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101059
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 9 October 2017 / Accepted: 11 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4703 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Tropical forests host at least two-thirds of the world’s flora and fauna diversity and store 25% of the terrestrial above and belowground carbon. However, biodiversity decline due to deforestation and forest degradation of tropical forest is increasing at an alarming rate. Biodiversity dynamics
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Tropical forests host at least two-thirds of the world’s flora and fauna diversity and store 25% of the terrestrial above and belowground carbon. However, biodiversity decline due to deforestation and forest degradation of tropical forest is increasing at an alarming rate. Biodiversity dynamics due to natural and anthropogenic disturbances are mainly monitored using established field survey approaches. However, such approaches appear to fall short at addressing complex disturbance factors and responses. We argue that the integration of state-of-the-art monitoring approaches can improve the detection of subtle biodiversity disturbances and responses in changing tropical forests, which are often data-poor. We assess the state-of-the-art technologies used to monitor biodiversity dynamics of changing tropical forests, and how their potential integration can increase the detail and accuracy of biodiversity monitoring. Moreover, the relevance of these biodiversity monitoring techniques in support of the UNCBD Aichi targets was explored using the Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) as a framework. Our review indicates that although established field surveys were generally the dominant monitoring systems employed, the temporal trend of monitoring approaches indicates the increasing application of remote sensing and in -situ sensors in detecting disturbances related to agricultural activities, logging, hunting and infrastructure. The relevance of new technologies (i.e., remote sensing, in situ sensors, and DNA barcoding) in operationalising EBVs (especially towards the ecosystem structure, ecosystem function, and species population classes) and the Aichi targets has been assessed. Remote sensing application is limited for EBV classes such as genetic composition and species traits but was found most suitable for ecosystem structure class. The complementarity of remote sensing and emerging technologies were shown in relation to EBV candidates such as species distribution, net primary productivity, and habitat structure. We also developed a framework based on the primary biodiversity attributes, which indicated the potential of integration between monitoring approaches. In situ sensors are suitable to help measure biodiversity composition, while approaches based on remote sensing are powerful for addressing structural and functional biodiversity attributes. We conclude that, synergy between the recent biodiversity monitoring approaches is important and possible. However, testing the suitability of monitoring methods across scales, integrating heterogeneous monitoring technologies, setting up metadata standards, and making interpolation and/or extrapolation from observation at different scales is still required to design a robust biodiversity monitoring system that can contribute to effective conservation measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle Improving Classification Accuracy of Multi-Temporal Landsat Images by Assessing the Use of Different Algorithms, Textural and Ancillary Information for a Mediterranean Semiarid Area from 2000 to 2015
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101058
Received: 2 September 2017 / Revised: 3 October 2017 / Accepted: 12 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate three different strategies to improve classification accuracy in a highly fragmented semiarid area using, (i) different classification algorithms with parameter optimization in some cases; (ii) different feature sets including spectral, textural and terrain features; and
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The aim of this study was to evaluate three different strategies to improve classification accuracy in a highly fragmented semiarid area using, (i) different classification algorithms with parameter optimization in some cases; (ii) different feature sets including spectral, textural and terrain features; and (iii) different seasonal combinations of images. A three-way ANOVA was used to discern which of these approaches and their interactions significantly increases accuracy. Tukey–Kramer contrast using a heteroscedasticity-consistent estimation of the kappa covariances matrix was used to check for significant differences in accuracy. The experiment was carried out with Landsat TM, ETM and OLI images corresponding to the period 2000–2015. A combination of four images using random forest and the three feature sets was the best way to improve accuracy. Maximum likelihood, random forest and support vector machines do not significantly increase accuracy when textural information was added, but do so when terrain features were taken into account. On the other hand, sequential maximum a posteriori increased accuracy when textural features were used, but reduced accuracy substantially when terrain features were included. Random forest using the three feature subsets and sequential maximum a posteriori with spectral and textural features had the largest kappa values, around 0.9. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing Image Processing)
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Open AccessArticle A New Method to Map Groundwater Table in Peatlands Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1057; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101057
Received: 16 August 2017 / Revised: 30 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
Groundwater level (GWL) and depth to water (DTW) are related metrics aimed at characterizing groundwater-table positions in peatlands, and two of the most common variables collected by researchers working in these ecosystems. While well-established field techniques exist for measuring GWL and DTW, they
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Groundwater level (GWL) and depth to water (DTW) are related metrics aimed at characterizing groundwater-table positions in peatlands, and two of the most common variables collected by researchers working in these ecosystems. While well-established field techniques exist for measuring GWL and DTW, they are generally difficult to scale. In this study, we present a novel workflow for mapping groundwater using orthophotography and photogrammetric point clouds acquired from unmanned aerial vehicles. Our approach takes advantage of the fact that pockets of surface water are normally abundant in peatlands, which we assume to be reflective of GWL in these porous, gently sloping environments. By first classifying surface water and then extracting a sample of water elevations, we can generate continuous models of GWL through interpolation. Estimates of DTW can then be obtained through additional efforts to characterize terrain. We demonstrate our methodology across a complex, 61-ha treed bog in northern Alberta, Canada. An independent accuracy assessment using 31 temporally coincident water-well measurements revealed accuracies (root mean square error) in the 20-cm range, though errors were concentrated in small upland pockets in the study area, and areas of dense tree covers. Model estimates in the open peatland areas were considerably better. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Peatlands)
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Open AccessArticle Mapping the Dabus Wetlands, Ethiopia, Using Random Forest Classification of Landsat, PALSAR and Topographic Data
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1056; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9101056
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 11 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
The Dabus Wetland complex in the highlands of Ethiopia is within the headwaters of the Nile Basin and is home to significant ecological communities and rare or endangered species. Its many interrelated wetland types undergo seasonal and longer-term changes due to weather and
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The Dabus Wetland complex in the highlands of Ethiopia is within the headwaters of the Nile Basin and is home to significant ecological communities and rare or endangered species. Its many interrelated wetland types undergo seasonal and longer-term changes due to weather and climate variations as well as anthropogenic land use such as grazing and burning. Mapping and monitoring of these wetlands has not been previously undertaken due primarily to their relative isolation and lack of resources. This study investigated the potential of remote sensing based classification for mapping the primary vegetation groups in the Dabus Wetlands using a combination of dry and wet season data, including optical (Landsat spectral bands and derived vegetation and wetness indices), radar (ALOS PALSAR L-band backscatter), and elevation (SRTM derived DEM and other terrain metrics) as inputs to the non-parametric Random Forest (RF) classifier. Eight wetland types and three terrestrial/upland classes were mapped using field samples of observed plant community composition and structure groupings as reference information. Various tests to compare results using different RF input parameters and data types were conducted. A combination of multispectral optical, radar and topographic variables provided the best overall classification accuracy, 94.4% and 92.9% for the dry and wet season, respectively. Spectral and topographic data (radar data excluded) performed nearly as well, while accuracies using only radar and topographic data were 82–89%. Relatively homogeneous classes such as Papyrus Swamps, Forested Wetland, and Wet Meadow yielded the highest accuracies while spatially complex classes such as Emergent Marsh were more difficult to accurately classify. The methods and results presented in this paper can serve as a basis for development of long-term mapping and monitoring of these and other non-forested wetlands in Ethiopia and other similar environmental settings. Full article
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