Estimating Soil Moisture from C and X Band SAR Using Machine Learning Algorithms and Compact Polarimetry
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This research aims at exploiting the integration of C- and X-band SAR data for the monitoring of Soil Moisture Content (SMC). Time series of Radarsat2 (RS2) and COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) images are collected on two test areas, located in Italy and in Canada. The backscattering sensitivity to SMC measured by in-situ stations is investigated considering the available sensor frequencies and polarizations. In addition, for exploiting the potential of fully polarimetric acquisitions of RS2, simulated Compact Polarimetric (CP) data are computed by using a Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM) data simulator, and their sensitivity to the target SMC is examined. Based on the experimental findings, two machine learning (ML) approaches to the SMC retrieval, namely Support Vector Regression (SVR) and Artificial Neural Network (ANN) are implemented and tested on the two areas. Looking at the preliminary results, the integration of X- and C-band images does provide valuable information for the retrieval of SMC, while the simulated CP parameters exhibit a certain sensitivity to SMC. On the South Tyrol test area, both SVR and ANN tested with different combinations of RS2 and CSK data were able to retrieve SMC with a RMSE between 2% and 4% of SMC and correlation coefficient R between 0.85 and 0.97, depending on the combination of inputs. The application of the ML algorithms to the other available images on the Mazia test area and the implementation of the ML retrieval algorithm using CP data are still under investigation.