Special Issue "Mountain Remote Sensing"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marc Zebisch
Website
Guest Editor
EURAC Research – Institute for Earth Observation, Viale Druso 1, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
Interests: Earth observation and environmental monitoring in mountain regions; impact of climate change; monitoring for informed decision making
Dr. Claudia Notarnicola
Website
Guest Editor
EURAC Research – Institute for Earth Observation, Viale Druso 1, 39100 Bolzano, Italy
Interests: retrieval of bio-physical parameters from optical and radar data; multi-sensor data fusion; integrated approach for environmental monitoring in mountain areas
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mountains are amongst the most vulnerable regions in the world. In the last few decades, mountains worldwide have undergone dramatic changes. Melting glaciers and less snow are leading to changes in the water regime. Natural hazards, such as landslides, rockfalls or glacier lake outbursts, are threatening mountain populations. Land-use change and climate change are putting pressure on the last remaining natural ecosystems, as well as on mountain agriculture and forestry.

Monitoring and understanding these changes, their drivers and impacts are essential to support a sustainable management of the changing mountain environment. In addition, it is a demanding and exciting scientific task. Remote sensing is one of the key methodologies for monitoring mountains, which are often data-scarce regions due to their remoteness and the harsh environment.

With this Special Issue, we would like to give an overview on state-of-the-art remote sensing methodologies and applications in mountain regions and on how remote sensing can contribute to an improved understanding of environmental dynamics in mountains. The latest developments in remote sensing, such as the use of dense time-series of high resolution data, combination of sensors (optical and SAR, multi-resolution), as well as the integration of satellite data with in situ networks should be highlighted. Topics can include:

  • Remote sensing of cryosphere and the water cycle in mountains
  • Remote sensing of natural hazards in mountains
  • Remote sensing of vegetation and land-cover dynamics in mountains.
  • Remote sensing methodologies for mountains (e.g., topographic and atmospheric correction, sensor fusion, etc.)
Dr. Marc Zebisch
Dr. Claudia Notarnicola
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Mountains
  • Snow
  • Glaciers
  • Natural Hazards
  • Mountain forest
  • Mountain agriculture
  • Impact of climate changes

Published Papers (12 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Open AccessArticle
Multi-Criteria Evaluation of Snowpack Simulations in Complex Alpine Terrain Using Satellite and In Situ Observations
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(8), 1171; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10081171 - 24 Jul 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
This work presents an extensive evaluation of the Crocus snowpack model over a rugged and highly glacierized mountain catchment (Arve valley, Western Alps, France) from 1989 to 2015. The simulations were compared and evaluated using in-situ point snow depth measurements, in-situ seasonal and [...] Read more.
This work presents an extensive evaluation of the Crocus snowpack model over a rugged and highly glacierized mountain catchment (Arve valley, Western Alps, France) from 1989 to 2015. The simulations were compared and evaluated using in-situ point snow depth measurements, in-situ seasonal and annual glacier surface mass balance, snow covered area evolution based on optical satellite imagery at 250 m resolution (MODIS sensor), and the annual equilibrium-line altitude of glaciers, derived from satellite images (Landsat, SPOT, and ASTER). The snowpack simulations were obtained using the Crocus snowpack model driven by the same, originally semi-distributed, meteorological forcing (SAFRAN) reanalysis using the native semi-distributed configuration, but also a fully distributed configuration. The semi-distributed approach addresses land surface simulations for discrete topographic classes characterized by elevation range, aspect, and slope. The distributed approach operates on a 250-m grid, enabling inclusion of terrain shadowing effects, based on the same original meteorological dataset. Despite the fact that the two simulations use the same snowpack model, being potentially subjected to same potential deviation from the parametrization of certain physical processes, the results showed that both approaches accurately reproduced the snowpack distribution over the study period. Slightly (although statistically significantly) better results were obtained by using the distributed approach. The evaluation of the snow cover area with MODIS sensor has shown, on average, a reduction of the Root Mean Squared Error (RMSE) from 15.2% with the semi-distributed approach to 12.6% with the distributed one. Similarly, surface glacier mass balance RMSE decreased from 1.475 m of water equivalent (W.E.) for the semi-distributed simulation to 1.375 m W.E. for the distribution. The improvement, observed with a much higher computational time, does not justify the recommendation of this approach for all applications; however, for simulations that require a precise representation of snowpack distribution, the distributed approach is suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Best Spectral Indices for the Detection of Burn Scars at Several Post-Fire Dates in a Mountainous Region of Northwest Yunnan, China
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(8), 1196; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10081196 - 30 Jul 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Remote mountainous regions are among the Earth’s last remaining wild spots, hosting rare ecosystems and rich biodiversity. Because of access difficulties and low population density, baseline information about natural and human-induced disturbances in these regions is often limited or nonexistent. Landsat time series [...] Read more.
Remote mountainous regions are among the Earth’s last remaining wild spots, hosting rare ecosystems and rich biodiversity. Because of access difficulties and low population density, baseline information about natural and human-induced disturbances in these regions is often limited or nonexistent. Landsat time series offer invaluable opportunities to reconstruct past land cover changes. However, the applicability of this approach strongly depends on the availability of good quality, cloud-free images, acquired at a regular time interval, which in mountainous regions are often difficult to find. The present study analyzed burn scar detection capabilities of 11 widely used spectral indices (SI) at 1 to 5 years after fire events in four dominant vegetation groups in a mountainous region of northwest Yunnan, China. To evaluate their performances, we used M-statistic as a burned-unburned class separability index, and we adapted an existing metric to quantify the SI residual burn signal at post-fire dates compared to the maximum severity recorded soon after the fire. Our results show that Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) and Normalized Difference Moisture Index (NDMI) are always among the three best performers for the detection of burn scars starting 1 year after fire but not for the immediate post-fire assessment, where the Mid Infrared Burn Index, Burn Area Index, and Tasseled Cap Greenness were superior. Brightness and Wetness peculiar patterns revealed long-term effects of fire in vegetated land, suggesting their potential integration to assist other SI in burned area detection several years after the fire event. However, in general, class separability of most of the SI was poor after one growing season, due to the seasonal rains and the relatively fast regrowth rate of shrubs and grasses, confirming the difficulty of assessment in mountainous ecosystems. Our findings are meaningful for the selection of a suitable SI to integrate in burned area detection workflows, according to vegetation type and time lag between image acquisitions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Ecosystem Services in a Protected Mountain Range of Portugal: Satellite-Based Products for State and Trend Analysis
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1573; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101573 - 01 Oct 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Mountains are facing strong environmental pressures, which may jeopardize the supply of various ecosystem services. For sustainable land management, ecosystem services and their supporting functions should thus be evaluated and monitored. Satellite products have been receiving growing attention for monitoring ecosystem functioning, mainly [...] Read more.
Mountains are facing strong environmental pressures, which may jeopardize the supply of various ecosystem services. For sustainable land management, ecosystem services and their supporting functions should thus be evaluated and monitored. Satellite products have been receiving growing attention for monitoring ecosystem functioning, mainly due to their increasing temporal and spatial resolutions. Here, we aim to illustrate the high potential of satellite products, combined with ancillary in situ and statistical data, to monitor the current state and trend of ecosystem services in the Peneda-Gerês National Park, a protected mountain range in Portugal located in a transition climatic zone (Atlantic to Mediterranean). We focused on three ecosystem services belonging to three broad categories: provisioning (reared animals), regulating (of water flows), and cultural (conservation of an endemic and iconic species). These services were evaluated using a set of different satellite products, namely grassland cover, soil moisture, and ecosystem functional attributes. In situ and statistical data were also used to compute final indicators of ecosystem services. We found a decline in the provision of reared animals since year 2000, although the area of grasslands had remained stable. The regulation of water flows had been maintained, and a strong relationship with interannual precipitation pattern was noted. In the same period, conservation of the focal iconic species might have been affected by interannual fluctuations of suitable habitat areas, with a possible influence of wildfires and precipitation. We conclude that satellite products can efficiently provide information about the current state and trend in the supply of various categories of ecosystem services, especially when combined with in situ or statistical data in robust modeling frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Performance Assessment of TanDEM-X DEM for Mountain Glacier Elevation Change Detection
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(2), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11020187 - 18 Jan 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
TanDEM-X digital elevation model (DEM) is a global DEM released by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at outstanding resolution of 12 m. However, the procedure for its creation involves the combination of several DEMs from acquisitions spread between 2011 and 2014, which casts [...] Read more.
TanDEM-X digital elevation model (DEM) is a global DEM released by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) at outstanding resolution of 12 m. However, the procedure for its creation involves the combination of several DEMs from acquisitions spread between 2011 and 2014, which casts doubt on its value for precise glaciological change detection studies. In this work we present TanDEM-X DEM as a high-quality product ready for use in glaciological studies. We compare it to Aerial Laser Scanning (ALS)-based dataset from April 2013 (1 m), used as the ground-truth reference, and Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) V003 DEM and SRTM v3 DEM (both 30 m), serving as representations of past glacier states. We use a method of sub-pixel coregistration of DEMs by Nuth and Kääb (2011) to determine the geometric accuracy of the products. In addition, we propose a slope-aspect heatmap-based workflow to remove the errors resulting from radar shadowing over steep terrain. Elevation difference maps obtained by subtraction of DEMs are analyzed to obtain accuracy assessments and glacier mass balance reconstructions. The vertical accuracy (± standard deviation) of TanDEM-X DEM over non-glacierized area is very good at 0.02 ± 3.48 m. Nevertheless, steep areas introduce large errors and their filtering is required for reliable results. The 30 m version of TanDEM-X DEM performs worse than the finer product, but its accuracy, −0.08 ± 7.57 m, is better than that of SRTM and ASTER. The ASTER DEM contains errors, possibly resulting from imperfect DEM creation from stereopairs over uniform ice surface. Universidad Glacier has been losing mass at a rate of −0.44 ± 0.08 m of water equivalent per year between 2000 and 2013. This value is in general agreement with previously reported mass balance estimated with the glaciological method for 2012–2014. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Impacts of Climate and Supraglacial Lakes on the Surface Velocity of Baltoro Glacier from 1992 to 2017
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1681; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111681 - 24 Oct 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The Baltoro Glacier is one of the largest glaciers in the Karakoram mountain range. Long-term monitoring of glacier dynamics provides key information on glacier evolution in a changing climate, which is essential for regional water resource and natural hazard management. On large glaciers, [...] Read more.
The Baltoro Glacier is one of the largest glaciers in the Karakoram mountain range. Long-term monitoring of glacier dynamics provides key information on glacier evolution in a changing climate, which is essential for regional water resource and natural hazard management. On large glaciers, detailed field based mass balance is not feasible. Ice dynamic variations quantify changes in mass transport and possibly the influence of environmental parameters on the evolution of the glacier. Although velocity variations of Baltoro Glacier during winter and summer are linked to seasonally enhanced basal sliding, little is known about differences in timing and magnitude of (intra-)seasonal velocity variations and their determining mechanisms. We present time series of annual, seasonal, and intra-seasonal glacier surface velocities by means of intensity offset tracking applied on multi-mission Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data for a period of 25 years from 1992 to 2017. Supraglacial lakes forming on the downstream glacier surface in summer were mapped from 1991 to 2017 based on the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), calculated from multi-spectral Landsat and ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) imagery. Additionally, precipitation data of the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and temperature data of ERA-Interim were used to derive the Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Temperature Index (STI) from 1998 to 2017. Linking surface velocities to the SPI confirmed a strong correlation between heavy precipitation events in winter and the magnitude and the timing of glacier acceleration in summer. Downstream extensions of summer acceleration that have been found since 2015 may be explained by additional water draining from an increased number of supraglacial lakes through crevasses that have been formed in consequence of higher initial velocities, evoked by strong winter precipitation. The warmer melt seasons observed in the years 2015 to 2017 additionally affects the formation of a supraglacial lake, so stronger summer acceleration events in recent years may be indirectly related to global warming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Glacier Change, Supraglacial Debris Expansion and Glacial Lake Evolution in the Gyirong River Basin, Central Himalayas, between 1988 and 2015
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(7), 986; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10070986 - 21 Jun 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
Himalayan glacier changes in the context of global climate change have attracted worldwide attention due to their profound cryo-hydrological ramifications. However, an integrated understanding of the debris-free and debris-covered glacier evolution and its interaction with glacial lake is still lacking. Using one case [...] Read more.
Himalayan glacier changes in the context of global climate change have attracted worldwide attention due to their profound cryo-hydrological ramifications. However, an integrated understanding of the debris-free and debris-covered glacier evolution and its interaction with glacial lake is still lacking. Using one case study in the Gyirong River Basin located in the central Himalayas, this paper applied archival Landsat imagery and an automated mapping method to understand how glaciers and glacial lakes interactively evolved between 1988 and 2015. Our analyses identified 467 glaciers in 1988, containing 435 debris-free and 32 debris-covered glaciers, with a total area of 614.09 ± 36.69 km2. These glaciers decreased by 16.45% in area from 1988 to 2015, with an accelerated retreat rate after 1994. Debris-free glaciers retreated faster than debris-covered glaciers. As a result of glacial downwasting, supraglacial debris coverage expanded upward by 17.79 km2 (24.44%). Concurrent with glacial retreat, glacial lakes increased in both number (+41) and area (+54.11%). Glacier-connected lakes likely accelerated the glacial retreat via thermal energy transmission and contributed to over 15% of the area loss in their connected glaciers. On the other hand, significant glacial retreats led to disconnections from their proglacial lakes, which appeared to stabilize the lake areas. Continuous expansions in the lakes connected with debris-covered glaciers, therefore, need additional attention due to their potential outbursts. In comparison with precipitation variation, temperature increase was the primary driver of such glacier and glacial lake changes. In addition, debris coverage, size, altitude, and connectivity with glacial lakes also affected the degree of glacial changes and resulted in the spatial heterogeneity of glacial wastage across the Gyirong River Basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Relationship between Spatiotemporal Variations of Climate, Snow Cover and Plant Phenology over the Alps—An Earth Observation-Based Analysis
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(11), 1757; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10111757 - 07 Nov 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Alpine ecosystems are particularly sensitive to climate change, and therefore it is of significant interest to understand the relationships between phenology and its seasonal drivers in mountain areas. However, no alpine-wide assessment on the relationship between land surface phenology (LSP) patterns and its [...] Read more.
Alpine ecosystems are particularly sensitive to climate change, and therefore it is of significant interest to understand the relationships between phenology and its seasonal drivers in mountain areas. However, no alpine-wide assessment on the relationship between land surface phenology (LSP) patterns and its climatic drivers including snow exists. Here, an assessment of the influence of snow cover variations on vegetation phenology is presented, which is based on a 17-year time-series of MODIS data. From this data snow cover duration (SCD) and phenology metrics based on the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) have been extracted at 250 m resolution for the entire European Alps. The combined influence of additional climate drivers on phenology are shown on a regional scale for the Italian province of South Tyrol using reanalyzed climate data. The relationship between vegetation and snow metrics strongly depended on altitude. Temporal trends towards an earlier onset of vegetation growth, increasing monthly mean NDVI in spring and late summer, as well as shorter SCD were observed, but they were mostly non-significant and the magnitude of these tendencies differed by altitude. Significant negative correlations between monthly mean NDVI and SCD were observed for 15–55% of all vegetated pixels, especially from December to April and in altitudes from 1000–2000 m. On the regional scale of South Tyrol, the seasonality of NDVI and SCD achieved the highest share of correlating pixels above 1500 m, while at lower elevations mean temperature correlated best. Examining the combined effect of climate variables, for average altitude and exposition, SCD had the highest effect on NDVI, followed by mean temperature and radiation. The presented analysis allows to assess the spatiotemporal patterns of earth-observation based snow and vegetation metrics over the Alps, as well as to understand the relative importance of snow as phenological driver with respect to other climate variables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Inventory of Glaciers in the Shaksgam Valley of the Chinese Karakoram Mountains, 1970–2014
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(8), 1166; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10081166 - 24 Jul 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The Shaksgam Valley, located on the north side of the Karakoram Mountains of western China, is situated in the transition zone between the Indian monsoon system and dry arid climate zones. Previous studies have reported abnormal behaviors of the glaciers in this region [...] Read more.
The Shaksgam Valley, located on the north side of the Karakoram Mountains of western China, is situated in the transition zone between the Indian monsoon system and dry arid climate zones. Previous studies have reported abnormal behaviors of the glaciers in this region compared to the global trend of glacier retreat, so the region is of special interest for glacier-climatological studies. For this purpose, long-term monitoring of glaciers in this region is necessary to obtain a better understanding of the relationships between glacier changes and local climate variations. However, accurate historical and up-to-date glacier inventory data for the region are currently unavailable. For this reason, this study conducted glacier inventories for the years 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2014 (i.e., a ~10-year interval) using multi-temporal remote sensing imagery. The remote sensing data used included Corona KH-4A/B (1965–1971), Hexagon KH-9 (1980), Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) (1990/1993), Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) (2000/2001), and Landsat Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) (2014/2015) multispectral satellite images, as well as digital elevation models (DEMs) from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), DEMs generated from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) images (2005–2014), and Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) World 3D 30 m mesh (AW3D30). In the year 2014, a total of 173 glaciers (including 121 debris-free glaciers) (>0.5 km2), covering an area of 1478 ± 34 km2 (area of debris-free glaciers: 295 ± 7 km2) were mapped. The multi-temporal glacier inventory results indicated that total glacier area change between 1970–2014 was not significant. However, individual glacier changes showed significant variability. Comparisons of the changes in glacier terminus position indicated that 55 (32 debris-covered) glaciers experienced significant advances (~40–1400 m) between 1970–2014, and 74 (32 debris-covered) glaciers experienced significant advances (~40–1400 m) during the most recent period (2000–2014). Notably, small glaciers showed higher sensitivity to climate changes, and the glaciers located in the western part of the study site were exhibiting glacier area expansion compared to other parts of the Shaksgam Valley. Finally, regression analyses indicated that topographic parameters were not the main driver of glacier changes. On the contrary, local climate variability could explain the complex behavior of glaciers in this region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Natural Forest Mapping in the Andes (Peru): A Comparison of the Performance of Machine-Learning Algorithms
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(5), 782; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10050782 - 18 May 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
The Andes mountain forests are sparse relict populations of tree species that grow in association with local native shrubland species. The identification of forest conditions for conservation in areas such as these is based on remote sensing techniques and classification methods. However, the [...] Read more.
The Andes mountain forests are sparse relict populations of tree species that grow in association with local native shrubland species. The identification of forest conditions for conservation in areas such as these is based on remote sensing techniques and classification methods. However, the classification of Andes mountain forests is difficult because of noise in the reflectance data within land cover classes. The noise is the result of variations in terrain illumination resulting from complex topography and the mixture of different land cover types occurring at the sub-pixel level. Considering these issues, the selection of an optimum classification method to obtain accurate results is very important to support conservation activities. We carried out comparative non-parametric statistical analyses on the performance of several classifiers produced by three supervised machine-learning algorithms: Random Forest (RF), Support Vector Machine (SVM), and k-Nearest Neighbor (kNN). The SVM and RF methods were not significantly different in their ability to separate Andes mountain forest and shrubland land cover classes, and their best classifiers showed a significantly better classification accuracy (AUC values 0.81 and 0.79 respectively) than the one produced by the kNN method (AUC value 0.75) because the latter was more sensitive to noisy training data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Centimetric Accuracy in Snow Depth Using Unmanned Aerial System Photogrammetry and a MultiStation
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(5), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10050765 - 16 May 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
Performing two independent surveys in 2016 and 2017 over a flat sample plot (6700 m 2 ), we compare snow-depth measurements from Unmanned-Aerial-System (UAS) photogrammetry and from a new high-resolution laser-scanning device (MultiStation) with manual probing, the standard technique used by operational services [...] Read more.
Performing two independent surveys in 2016 and 2017 over a flat sample plot (6700 m 2 ), we compare snow-depth measurements from Unmanned-Aerial-System (UAS) photogrammetry and from a new high-resolution laser-scanning device (MultiStation) with manual probing, the standard technique used by operational services around the world. While previous comparisons already used laser scanners, we tested for the first time a MultiStation, which has a different measurement principle and is thus capable of millimetric accuracy. Both remote-sensing techniques measured point clouds with centimetric resolution, while we manually collected a relatively dense amount of manual data (135 pt in 2016 and 115 pt in 2017). UAS photogrammetry and the MultiStation showed repeatable, centimetric agreement in measuring the spatial distribution of seasonal, dense snowpack under optimal illumination and topographic conditions (maximum RMSE of 0.036 m between point clouds on snow). A large fraction of this difference could be due to simultaneous snowmelt, as the RMSE between UAS photogrammetry and the MultiStation on bare soil is equal to 0.02 m. The RMSE between UAS data and manual probing is in the order of 0.20–0.30 m, but decreases to 0.06–0.17 m when areas of potential outliers like vegetation or river beds are excluded. Compact and portable remote-sensing devices like UASs or a MultiStation can thus be successfully deployed during operational manual snow courses to capture spatial snapshots of snow-depth distribution with a repeatable, vertical centimetric accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Fusion of NASA Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) Lidar Time Series over Mountain Forest Landscapes
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020164 - 24 Jan 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Mountain ecosystems are among the most fragile environments on Earth. The availability of timely updated information on forest 3D structure would improve our understanding of the dynamic and impact of recent disturbance and regeneration events including fire, insect damage, and drought. Airborne lidar [...] Read more.
Mountain ecosystems are among the most fragile environments on Earth. The availability of timely updated information on forest 3D structure would improve our understanding of the dynamic and impact of recent disturbance and regeneration events including fire, insect damage, and drought. Airborne lidar is a critical tool for monitoring forest change at high resolution but it has been little used for this purpose due to the scarcity of long-term time-series of measurements over a common region. Here, we investigate the reliability of on-going, multi-year lidar observations from the NASA-JPL Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) to characterize forest 3D structure at a fine spatial scale. In this study, weekly ASO measurements collected at ~1 pt/m2, primarily acquired to quantify snow volume and dynamics, are coherently merged to produce high-resolution point clouds ( ~ 12 pt/m2) that better describe forest structure. The merging methodology addresses the spatial bias in multi-temporal data due to uncertainties in platform trajectory and motion by collecting tie objects from isolated tree crown apexes in the lidar data. The tie objects locations are assigned to the centroid of multi-temporal lidar points to fuse and optimize the location of multiple measurements without the need for ancillary data or GPS control points. We apply the methodology to ASO lidar acquisitions over the Tuolumne River Basin in the Sierra Nevada, California, during the 2014 snow monitoring campaign and provide assessment of the fidelity of the fused point clouds for forest mountain ecosystem studies. The availability of ASO measurements that currently span 2013–2017 enable annual forest monitoring of important vegetated ecosystems that currently face ecological threads of great significance such as the Sierra Nevada (California) and Olympic National Forest (Washington). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Performance of Three MODIS Fire Products (MCD45A1, MCD64A1, MCD14ML), and ESA Fire_CCI in a Mountainous Area of Northwest Yunnan, China, Characterized by Frequent Small Fires
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(11), 1131; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9111131 - 06 Nov 2017
Cited by 22
Abstract
An increasing number of end-users looking for ground data about fire activity in regions where accurate official datasets are not available adopt a free-of-charge global burned area (BA) and active fire (AF) products for applications at the local scale. One of the pressing [...] Read more.
An increasing number of end-users looking for ground data about fire activity in regions where accurate official datasets are not available adopt a free-of-charge global burned area (BA) and active fire (AF) products for applications at the local scale. One of the pressing requirements from the user community is an improved ability to detect small fires (less than 50 ha), whose impact on terrestrial environments is empirically known but poorly quantified, and is often excluded from global earth system models. The newest generation of BA algorithms combines the capabilities of both the BA and AF detection approaches, resulting in a general improvement of detection compared to their predecessors. Accuracy assessments of these products have been done in several ecosystems; but more complex ones, such as regions that are characterized by frequent small fires and steep terrain has never been assessed. This study contributes to the understanding of the performance of global BA and AF products with a first assessment of four selected datasets: MODIS-based MCD45A1; MCD64A1; MCD14ML; and, ESA’s Fire_CCI in a mountainous region of northwest Yunnan; P.R. China. Due to the medium to coarse resolution of the tested products and the reduced sizes of fires (often smaller than 50 ha) we used a polygon intersection assessment method where the number and locations of fire events extracted from each dataset were compared against a reference dataset that was compiled using Landsat scenes. The results for the two sample years (2006 and 2009) show that the older, non-hybrid products MCD45A1 and, MCD14ML were the best performers with Sørensen index (F1 score) reaching 0.42 and 0.26 in 2006, and 0.24 and 0.24 in 2009, respectively, while producer’s accuracies (PA) were 30% and 43% in 2006, and 16% and 47% in 2009, respectively. All of the four tested products obtained higher probabilities of detection when smaller fires were excluded from the assessment, with PAs for fires bigger than 50 ha being equal to 53% and 61% in 2006, 41% and 66% in 2009 for MCD45A1 and MCD14ML, respectively. Due to the technical limitations of the satellites’ sensors, a relatively low performance of the four products was expected. Surprisingly, the new hybrid algorithms produced worse results than the former two. Fires smaller than 50 ha were poorly detected by the products except for the only AF product. These findings are significant for the future design of improved algorithms aiming for increased detection of small fires in a greater diversity of ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mountain Remote Sensing)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Back to TopTop