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Multi-temporal polarimetric RADARSAT-2 for land cover monitoring in Northeastern Ontario, Canada

Cable, J.W., Kovacs, J.M., Shang, J., Jiao, X. (2014). Multi-temporal polarimetric RADARSAT-2 for land cover monitoring in Northeastern Ontario, Canada, 6(3), 2372-2392.


For successful applications of microwave remote sensing endeavors it is essential to understand how surface targets respond to changing synthetic aperture radar (SAR) parameters. The purpose of the study is to examine how two particular parameters, acquisition time and incidence angle, influences the response from various land use/land cover types (forests, urban infrastructure, surface water and marsh wetland targets) using nine RADARSAT-2 C-band fine-beam (FQ7 and FQ21) fully polarimetric SAR data acquired during the 2011 growing season over northern Ontario, Canada. The results indicate that backscatter from steep incidence angle acquisitions was typically higher than shallow angles. Wetlands showed an increase in HH and HV intensity due to the growth of emergent vegetation over the course of the summer. The forest and urban targets displayed little variation in backscatter over time. The surface water target showed the greatest difference with respect to incidence angle, but was also determined to be the most affected by wind conditions. Analysis of the co-polarized phase difference revealed the urban target as greatly influenced by the incidence angle. The observed phase differences of the wetland target for all acquisitions also suggested evidence of double-bounce interactions, while the forest and surface water targets showed little to no phase difference. In addition, Cloude-Pottier and Freeman-Durden decompositions, when analyzed in conjunction with polarimetric response plots, provided supporting information to confidently identify the various targets and their scattering mechanisms. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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