Multi-model radiometric slope correction of SAR images of complex terrain using a two-stage semi-empirical approach

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Abstract

Practical approaches for the implementation of terrain type dependent radiometric slope correction for SAR data are introduced. Radiometric slope effects are modelled as the products of two models. The first is a simple physical model based on the assumption of a uniform opaque layer of isotropic scatterers, which is independent of terrain type, frequency and polarization. It accounts for the slope-induced variation in the number of scatterers per resolution cell. The second is a semi-empirical model, which accounts for the variation in scattering mechanisms, dependent on terrain type, frequency and polarization. PALSAR FBD (L-band, HH- and HV-polarization) data are used at two test sites in Brazil and Fiji. Results for the Brazilian area, which has slopes up to 25°, show that remaining slope effects for the multi-model case are much smaller than 0.1 dB, for all land cover types. This is much better than the best single-model approach where remaining slope effects can be very small for forests but be as large as 1.77 dB for woodland in HH-polarization. Results for the Fiji area, which has different vegetation types, are very similar. The potential large improvement, using this multi-model approach, in the accuracy of biomass estimation for transparent or open canopies is discussed. It is also shown that biomass change on slopes can be systematically under- or overestimated because of associated change in scattering mechanism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
Volume156
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • radar imagery
  • topography
  • forest
  • classification
  • backscatter
  • validation

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