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Forest Height Inversion Using High-Resolution P-Band Pol-InSAR Data

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3 Author(s)

In this paper, a high-resolution P-band Pol-InSAR data set acquired by the airborne RAMSES system over pine forest stands of different height is investigated. A significant penetration depth in all the polarimetric channels and a wide range of polarimetric phase center heights are observed, attesting of an interaction of the radar waves with different forest structural elements. The main objective of this paper concerns forest height inversion at P-band. First, forest-modeling assumptions are evaluated using a priori information, such as ground-level and forest height measurements. The full extend of the forest height is shown to be responsible of the volume decorrelation, and a significant orientation effect is clearly identified over the highest stands. As a consequence, the Oriented Volume over Ground model (OVoG) is determined to be the most appropriated model for the forest height inversion. At P-band, the ground contribution is present in all the polarimetric channels due to the important penetration at this frequency. To overcome this difficulty, a time-frequency optimization method based on sublook decomposition is developed to separate the pure ground and canopy contributions, allowing forest height estimation with OVoG with an rms error on the order of 2 m. In the last section of this paper, a sensitivity analysis of the inversion with respect to two important system parameters, the signal-to-noise ratio and the resolution, is presented, leading to a discussion on the inversion robustness in spaceborne conditions, where these system parameters are the most deteriorated as compared to airborne configurations.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 11 )