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Multiyear crop monitoring using polarimetric RADARSAT-2 data

Liu, C., Shang, J., Vachon, P.W., McNairn, H. (2013). Multiyear crop monitoring using polarimetric RADARSAT-2 data, 51(4), 2227-2240.


This paper studies the feasibility of monitoring crop growth based on a trend analysis of three elementary radar scattering mechanisms using three consecutive years (2008-2010) of RADARSAT-2 (R-2) Fine Quad Mode data. The polarimetric synthetic aperture radar analysis is based on the Pauli decomposition. Multitemporal analysis is applied to RGB images constructed using surface scattering, double-bounce, and volume scattering, along with intensity analysis of these scattering mechanisms. The test site is located in Eastern Ontario, Canada where the cropping system is dominated by corn, spring wheat, and soybeans. Each crop has unique physical structural characteristics which provide different responses for these scattering mechanisms. Significant changes occur in these scattering mechanisms as the crops move from one phenological stage to the next. By monitoring these changes over the season, the crop growth cycle from emergence to harvest can be observed. When harvest occurs, the backscatter intensities change significantly, and these changes aid in identifying crops. The temporal evaluation of the intensity of the scattering mechanisms generally track the measured leaf area index and observed phenological plant development. Changes in growth stage are crop type specific. Thus, to monitor changes in crop phenology and the occurrence of harvest activities, knowledge of the crop grown in any particular field is required. To accommodate this requirement, a maximum likelihood classification was performed on the R-2 data to produce a crop map. An overall classification accuracy of 85% was achieved. © 1980-2012 IEEE.

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