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  • JAG_2018_417_R1

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 74, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.jag.2018.08.024

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Full year crop monitoring and separability assessment with fully-polarimetric L-band UAVSAR: A case study in the Sacramento Valley, California

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>02/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Volume74
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)45-56
Publication statusPublished
Early online date14/09/18
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Spatial and temporal information on plant and soil conditions is needed urgently for monitoring of crop productivity. Remote sensing has been considered as an effective means for crop growth monitoring due to its timely updating and complete coverage. In this paper, we explored the potential of L-band fully-polarimetric Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) data for crop monitoring and classification. The study site was located in the Sacramento Valley, in California where the cropping system is relatively diverse. Full season polarimetric signatures, as well as scattering mechanisms, for several crops, including almond, walnut, alfalfa, winter wheat, corn, sunflower, and tomato, were analyzed with linear polarizations (HH, HV, and VV) and polarimetric decomposition (Cloude–Pottier and Freeman–Durden) parameters, respectively. The separability amongst crop types was assessed across a full calendar year based on both linear polarizations and decomposition parameters. The unique structure-related polarimetric signature of each crop was provided by multitemporal UAVSAR data with a fine temporal resolution. Permanent tree crops (almond and walnut) and alfalfa demonstrated stable radar backscattering values across the growing season, whereas winter wheat and summer crops (corn, sunflower, and tomato) presented drastically different patterns, with rapid increase from the emergence stage to the peak biomass stage, followed by a significant decrease during the senescence stage. In general, the polarimetric signature was heterogeneous during June and October, while homogeneous during March-to-May and July-to-August. The scattering mechanisms depend heavily upon crop type and phenological stage. The primary scattering mechanism for tree crops was volume scattering (>40%), while surface scattering (>40%) dominated for alfalfa and winter wheat, although double-bounce scattering (>30%) was notable for alfalfa during March-to-September. Surface scattering was also dominant (>40%) for summer crops across the growing season except for sunflower and tomato during June and corn during July-to-October when volume scattering (>40%) was the primary scattering mechanism. Crops were better discriminated with decomposition parameters than with linear polarizations, and the greatest separability occurred during the peak biomass stage (July-August). All crop types were completely separable from the others when simultaneously using UAVSAR data spanning the whole growing season. The results demonstrate the feasibility of L-band SAR for crop monitoring and classification, without the need for optical data, and should serve as a guideline for future research.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 74, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.jag.2018.08.024