Estimation of soil moisture in mountain areas using SVR technique applied to multiscale active radar images at C band
Della Chiesa S
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Subjecthydrological techniques; Moisture; Moisture measurement; Regression analysis; Remote sensing by radar; Soil; Support vector machines; Synthetic aperture radar; Vegetation mapping;
This paper presents an approach for retrieval of soil moisture content (SMC) from different satellite sensors with a focus on mountain areas. The novelties of the paper are: the extension of an already developed method to coarse resolution data (150 m) in mountain environment with high land heterogeneity, with only VV polarization and the proper selection of input features. During the result analysis, several algorithm characteristics were clearly identified: 1) the performances showed to be strongly related to input features such as topography and vegetation indices; 2) the algorithm needs a training phase; 3) the averaging window needs to be proper selected to take into account both the speckle noise and the characteristics of the area under investigation; and 4) the algorithm, being data driven, can be considered as site dependent. The experimental analysis is carried out on images acquired over the Südtirol/Alto Adige Province in Italy during 2010-2011 from the RADARSAT2 and Envisat ASAR in Wide Swath mode. SMC maps were compared with spatially distributed ground measurements, resulting in a root mean squared error (RMSE) value ranging from 0.045 to 0.07 m3/m3. Concerning the multiscale analysis, the results indicated that RADARSAT2 maps are able to detect the spatial heterogeneity and soil moisture dynamics at local scale, while ASAR WS SMC maps are able to identify mainly the two main classes of pasture and meadows. When these estimates are compared with SMC values from meteorological stations a RMSE value of 0.10 m3/m3 for both satellites indicated a reduced capability to follow the temporal dynamics.
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