Comparative Study among Different Semi-Empirical Models for Soil Salinity Prediction in an Arid Environment Using OLI Landsat-8 Data
Advances in Remote Sensing
Salt-affected soils, caused by natural or human activities, are a common environmental hazard in semi-arid and arid landscapes. Excess salts in soils affect plant growth and production, soil and water quality and, therefore, increase soil erosion and land degradation. This research investigates the performance of five different semi-empirical predictive models for soil salinity spatial distribution mapping in arid environment using OLI sensor image data. This is the first attempt to test remote
... empt to test remote sensing based semi-empirical salinity predictive models in this area: the Kingdom of Bahrain. To achieve our objectives, OLI data were standardized from the atmosphere interferences, the sensor radiometric drift, and the topographic and geometric distortions. Then, the five semi-empirical predictive models based on the Normalized Difference Salinity Index (NDSI), the Salinity Index-ASTER (SI-ASTER), the Salinity Index-1 (SI-1), the Soil Salinity and Sodicity Index-1 and Index-2 (SSSI-1 and SSSI-2), developed for slight and moderate salinity in agricultural land, were implemented and applied to OLI image data. For validation purposes, a fieldwork was organized and different important spots-locations representing different salinity levels were visited, photographed, and localized using an accurate GPS (σ ≤ ±30 cm). Based on this a priori knowledge of the soil salinity, six validation sites were selected to reflect non-saline, low, moderate, high and extreme salinity classes, descriptive statistics extracted from polygons and/or transects over these sites were used. The obtained results showed that the models based on NDSI, SI-1 and SI-ASTER all failed to detect salinity bounds for both extreme salinity (Sabkhah) and non-saline conditions. In Fact, NDSI and SI-ASTER gave respectively only 35% dS/m and 25% dS/m in extreme salinity How to cite this paper: El-Battay, A., Bannari, A., Hameid, N.A. and Abahussain, A.A. (2017) Comparative Study among Different Semi-Empirical Models for Soil Salinity Prediction in an Arid Environment Using OLI Landsat-8 Data. Advances in Remote Sensing, 6, 23-39. A. El-Battay et al. 24 validation site, while SI-1 and SI-ASTER indicated 38% dS/m and 39% dS/m in non-saline validation site. Therefore, these three models were deemed inadequate for the study site. However, both SSSI-1 and SSSI-2 allowed a detection of the previous salinity bounds and furthermore described similarly and correctly the urban-vegetation areas and the open-land areas. Their predicted EC is around 10% dS/m for non-saline urban soil, about 25% dS/m for low salinity urban-vegetation soil, approximately 30% to 75% dS/m, respectively, for moderate to high salinity soils. SSSI-2 based semi-empirical salinity models was able to differentiate the high salinity versus extreme salinity in areas where both exist and was very accurate to highlight the pure salt where SSSI-1 has reach saturation for both salinity classes. In conclusion, reliable salinity map was produced using the model based on SSSI-2 and OLI sensor data that allows a better characterization of the soil salinity problem in an Arid Environment.