Temporal Survey of P- and L-Band Polarimetric Backscatter in Boreal Forests
Journal article, 2018
Environmental conditions and seasonal variations affect the backscattered radar signal from a forest. This potentially causes errors in a biomass retrieval scheme using data from the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data. A better understanding of these effects and the electromagnetic scattering mechanisms in forests is required to improve biomass estimation algorithms for current and upcoming P- and L-band SAR missions. In this paper, temporal changes in HH-, VV-, and HV-polarized P- and L-band radar backscatter and temporal coherence from a boreal forest site are analyzed in relation to environmental parameters. The radar data were collected from a stand of mature Norway spruce ( Picea abies (L.) Karst.) with an above-ground biomass of approximately 250 tons/ha at intervals of 5 min from January to August 2017 using the BorealScat tower-based scatterometer. It was observed that subzero temperatures during the winters cause large variations (4 to 10 dB) in P- and L-band backscatter, for which the HH/VV backscatter ratio offered some mitigation. High wind speeds were also seen to cause deviations in the average backscatter at P-band due to decreased double-bounce scattering. Severe temporal decorrelation was observed at L-band over timescales of days or more, whereas the P-band temporal coherence remained high ( $>$ 0.9) for at least a month neglecting windy periods. Temporal coherence at P-band was highest during night times when wind speeds are low.
Synthetic aperture radar