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The Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar onboard the Advanced Land Observing Satellite has, since its launch, been acquiring an extensive data set of images over two forest test sites in Sweden. The sites of Remningstorp (Lat. 58deg30' N, Long. 13deg40' E) in the south and Krycklan (Lat. 64deg14' N, Long. 19deg50' E) in the north of Sweden are characterized by hemiboreal and boreal forests, respectively. In this paper, we have investigated the signatures of standwise backscatter measurements from forests with different growth stages in relation to polarization, environmental conditions, image viewing geometry, and spatial resolution. The HV backscatter presented stronger sensitivity to the forest growth stage than the HH and VV backscatter. Under unfrozen conditions, the dynamic range of fine-beam data acquired at 34.3deg was 8-9 dB for the HV polarization and 6-7 dB for the HH polarization. At 21.5deg, in the polarimetric mode, the dynamic range was 6, 7, and 9 dB at VV, HH, and HV polarizations, respectively. Regardless of the specific polarization, the backscatter was temporally consistent under unfrozen conditions, with a small increase of backscatter in regrowing young forest for wet conditions. Under thawing and frozen conditions, repeated measurements were available only for the HH backscatter at 34.3deg. For thawing conditions, the backscatter level was similar to the unfrozen conditions even though the signatures differed depending on temperature dynamics, snow-cover properties, and precipitation. Under frozen conditions, the signatures varied depending on temperature. For images acquired when the temperature was well below the freezing point, the backscatter was low, and the dynamic range was small (2-4 dB); nonetheless, the measurements were consistent. Images acquired when temperature was close to the freezing point presented a behavior similar to unfrozen conditions. The sensitivity of the backscatter to the image viewing geometry for d- - ifferent growth stages was studied for data acquired under dry unfrozen conditions. The backscatter difference increased for increasing look angle because of the increase in volume scattering and the decrease of ground-surface backscatter. The largest difference was observed at 41.5deg with 2.5-4-dB difference for the HH and 4-5-dB difference for the HV case. Loss of spatial resolution (20-50 m) did not have any effect on the backscatter signatures in Krycklan, whereas in Remningstorp, the smallest stands were affected.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:47 , Issue: 12 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2009