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Agricultural monitoring in Northeastern Ontario, Canada, using multi-temporal polarimetric RADARSAT-2 Data

Cable, J.W., Kovacs, J.M., Jiao, X., Shang, J. (2014). Agricultural monitoring in Northeastern Ontario, Canada, using multi-temporal polarimetric RADARSAT-2 Data, 6(3), 2343-2371.


The purpose of this research is to analyze how changes in acquisition time and incidence angle affect various C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) polarimetric intensities, co-polarized phase information, polarimetric response plots and decomposition parameters for various crops typical of Northern Ontario, Canada. We examine how these parameters may be used to monitor the growth stages of five common cash crops, namely, barley (Hordeum vulgare), canola (Brassica napus), oat (Avena sativa), soybean (Glycine max) and wheat (Triticum spp.). In total, nine RADARSAT-2 polarimetric images were analyzed across a 14-week period beginning in June and ending in September 2011 using two incidence angles of approximately 26° and 41°. As expected, the backscatter intensities for all targets were found to show a higher response when acquired at the steeper incidence angle (26°). All cash crop targets showed a rise and fall in backscatter response over the course of the growing season, coinciding with changing growth stages. Slight phase differences were observed for cereal crops, possibly due to one of the polarizations penetrating between the rows allowing double-bounce to occur. The polarimetric response plots and decompositions offered insight into the scattering mechanisms of each crop type, generally showing an increase in volume scattering as the crops reached maturity. Specifically, the contributions of the crops increased towards the volume scattering component and zones 4 and 2, as the crops matured in regards to the Freeman-Durden and Cloude-Pottier decompositions respectively. Overall, soybean and canola showed a more similar response in comparison to the cereal cash crops. Although the study focused on Northern Ontario, it is anticipated that these results would be relevant in investigations of multi-temporal RADARSAT-2 for agricultural zones with similar crop types. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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