Remote sensing technologies, particularly with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) system, can provide timely and critical information to assess landslide distributions over large areas. Most space-borne SAR systems have been operating in different polarimetric modes to meet various operational requirements. This study aims to discuss how much detectability can be expected in the landslide map produced from the single-, dual-, and quad-polarization modes of observation. The experimental analysis of the characteristic changes of PALSAR-2 signals showed that quad-polarization parameters indicating signal depolarization properties revealed noticeable landslide-induced temporal changes for all local incidence angle ranges. To produce a landslide map, a simple change detection method based on characteristic scattering properties of landslide areas was proposed. The accuracy assessment results showed that the depolarization parameters, such as the co-pol coherence and polarizing contribution, can identify areas affected by landslides with a detection rate of 60%, and a false-alarm rate of 5%. On the other hand, the single- or dual-pol parameters can only be expected to provide half the accuracy with significant false-alarms in areas with temporal variations independent of landslides.
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