Preliminary Analysis of ERS-1 SAR for Forest Ecosystem Studies

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In this paper we examine an image obtained by the C-band VV-polarized ERS-1 SAR with respect to potential land applications. A scene obtained near noon on Aug. 15, 1991 along the U.S.-Canadian border near Sault Ste. Marie is calibrated relative to an array of trihedral corner reflectors and active radar calibrators distributed across the swath. Extensive contemporaneous ground observations of forest stands are used to predict σ° at the time of the SAR overpass using a first-order vector radiative transfer model (MIMICS). These predictions generally agree with the calibrated ERS-1 data to within 1 dB. It is demonstrated that the dynamic range of σ° is sufficient to perform limited discrimination of various forest and grassland communities even for a single-date observation. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that retrieval of near-surface soil moisture is feasible for grass-covered soils when plant biomass is less than 1 tonne/ha. © 1992 IEEE

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IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing