Mapping soil moisture using RADARSAT-2 data and local autocorrelation statistics.

Merzouki, A., McNairn, H., and Pacheco, A. (2011). "Mapping soil moisture using RADARSAT-2 data and local autocorrelation statistics.", IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 4(1), pp. 128-137. doi : 10.1109/JSTARS.2011.2116769  Access to full text


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the capability of surface radar backscatter models to estimate soil moisture over agricultural fields from fully polarimetric RADARSAT-2 C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) responses. For validation purposes, ground measurements over 44 sampling sites in eastern Ontario, Canada were carried out in the spring of 2008 simultaneously with satellite data acquisitions. Soil moisture retrieval was accomplished using two semi-empirical scattering models (Dubois and Oh) and the SAR image backscatter. Discrepancies between measured radar backscatter coefficients and those predicted by the models were previously reported, requiring correction factors to reduce biases associated with these semi-empirical approaches. Soil moisture was estimated by explicitly solving the two backscatter equations of the Dubois model, and using a look-up table (LUT) approach applied to the Oh model. Results showed that the Oh model in a cross-polarization (HH-HV) and Dubois in a co-polarization (HH-VV) inversion scheme provide the best estimates. These model configurations were implemented to produce multi-date soil moisture maps for the eastern Ontario site. To expand the range of validity of these soil moisture estimates, the maps produced by the Dubois and Oh models were uniquely combined. These estimates of absolute soil moisture were then used to derive spatial patterns of near-surface moisture content using the Getis statistic. The Getis statistic maps provide meaningful spatial information, demonstrating the potential of combining the Getis statistic and RADARSAT-2 data in predicting soil moisture conditions.

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