Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Compact Polarimetry for Soil Moisture Retrieval

Amine Merzouki, Heather McNairn, Jarrett Powers, Matthew Friesen
<span title="2019-09-25">2019</span> <i title="MDPI AG"> <a target="_blank" rel="noopener" href="" style="color: black;">Remote Sensing</a> </i> &nbsp;
Soil moisture is a factor for risk analysis in the agricultural sector, yet access to temporally and spatially detailed data is challenging for much of the world's agricultural extend. Significant effort has been focused on developing methodologies to estimate soil moisture from microwave satellite sensors. Canada's RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) is capable of acquiring imagery in a number of modes with a Compact Polarimetry (CP) configuration at different spatial resolutions (1 to 100
more &raquo; ... RCM offers greater polarization diversity, wide swaths and improved temporal frequency (4-day exact revisit time); all important considerations for large area monitoring of agricultural resources. The major goal of this study was to examine whether CP could accurately estimate surface soil moisture over bare fields. A methodology was developed using the calibrated Integral Equation Model (IEM) multi-polarization inversion approach. RADARSAT-2 data was acquired between 2012 and 2017 over a test site in eastern Canada. CP backscatter for two RCM modes (medium resolution 30 m and 50 m (MR30 and MR50)) was simulated using 63 RADARSAT-2 fully polarimetric images. A simple transfer function was developed between RH (right circular-horizontal) and HH (horizontal-horizontal) intensity, as well as RV (right circular-vertical) and VV (vertical-vertical). These HH- and VV-like intensities were then used in the multi-polarization inversion scheme to retrieve soil moisture. CP soil moisture retrievals were validated against soil moisture measurements from a long term in-situ network instrumented with five soil moisture stations. Retrieved and measured soil moisture were well correlated (R > 0.70) with an unbiased root mean square error (ubRMSE) less than 0.06 m3/m3. Overall, the developed method clearly captured the dry down and wetting trends observed through the five years study period. However, results demonstrated that the inversion method introduced a consistent bias (~0.10 m3/m3). Comparison of CP soil moisture estimates to those from the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) passive microwave satellite confirmed this bias. This study demonstrates the potential of C-band CP data to deliver accurate soil moisture products over wide swaths for regional and national soil moisture monitoring.
<span class="external-identifiers"> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener noreferrer" href="">doi:10.3390/rs11192227</a> <a target="_blank" rel="external noopener" href="">fatcat:j2zovgwrmnedjg3jc7kui5wja4</a> </span>
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