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TitleRADARSAT-2 beam mode selection for surface water and flooded vegetation mapping
AuthorWhite, L; Brisco, B; Pregitzer, M; Tedford, B; Boychuk, L
SourceCanadian Journal of Remote Sensing vol. 40, no. 2, 2014 p. 135-151,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20130346
PublisherTaylor & Francis Group
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
AreaSmith Creek Watershed; Yorkton; Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge; Canada; United States of America
Lat/Long WENS-102.0000 -101.7500 51.0833 51.0000
Lat/Long WENS -95.5000 -95.5000 47.0833 46.9167
Subjectsgeophysics; Nature and Environment; remote sensing; satellite imagery; analytical methods; surface waters; vegetation; statistical analyses
ProgramRemote Sensing Science
Released2014 08 22
AbstractSynthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is well known for its ability to map surface water. There are a number of SAR satellites providing data for this application including the Canadian RADARSAT-2 system. RADARSAT-2 has a wide range of beam modes and some users may be intimidated by the variety of choices and have a difficult time deciding on the most appropriate beam mode. This technical note addresses some issues behind beam mode and polarization selection for surface water mapping with RADARSAT-2 and the upcoming RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). This includes the impacts of resolution, wind effects, and the best mode for flooded vegetation detection. The results show that high resolution modes like the single polarized Spotlight are best for accurately delineating the surface water edge and small patches of flooded terrain. The addition of the cross-polarization available in other beam modes can provide useful surface water information in windy or rough surface conditions because there is little effect on the RADAR backscatter compared to the HH single polarization. For accurately delineating flooded vegetation, a polarimetric or compact polarimetric mode is best because the phase is maintained, which allows the user to apply polarimetric decompositions models to help separate the RADAR backscatter.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Water is essential to all life. Water quantity and quality are under threat globally due to a number of factors, including pollution, climate change, industrial development and population growth. Canada's RADARSAT-2 satellite imagery has been recognized as an important data source for its ability to map and monitor surface water. This technical note addresses RADARSAT-2 and the impacts of resolution, wind effects and choice of beam mode on mapping open water and flooded vegetation. The results show that high resolution (i.e. high detail) beam modes like Spotlight are best for delineating small areas of open water. For accurately delineating flooded vegetation, a beam mode which sends and receives the satellite signal in both horizontal and vertical planes is ideal.

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