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TerraSAR-X Data for Burn Severity Evaluation in Mediterranean Forests on Sloped Terrain

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4 Author(s)
Tanase, M.A. ; Dept. of Geogr., Univ. of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain ; Perez-Cabello, F. ; de la Riva, J. ; Santoro, M.

TerraSAR-X (TSX) dual-polarized synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from a test site in Spain have been investigated to determine the relationship between forest burn severity and SAR backscatter. The role of the local incidence angle on the backscatter coefficient has been also studied. Burn severity was estimated by means of composition burn index plots and the remotely sensed differenced normalized burn ratio index. To infer the potential of the TSX data for burn severity assessment, the determination coefficients obtained from linear regression analysis have been used. At horizontal transmit horizontal receive (HH) polarization, backscatter increased for slopes oriented toward the sensor and areas affected by high burn severity, whereas, at horizontal transmit vertical receive (HV) polarization, higher backscatter occurred for slopes oriented away from the sensor in areas of low burn severity. The dependence of the backscatter coefficient on topography for areas affected by forest fire has been confirmed. The HH backscatter presented a clear descending trend with the increase in local incidence angle, whereas the HV backscatter presented an ascending trend. The determination coefficients showed that, at HH polarization, better estimates of burn severity are obtained at low local incidence angles, whereas, for HV polarization, the best estimates are obtained at high local incidence angles. The dual-polarized X-band SAR data showed potential for burn severity estimation in the Mediterranean environment if local incidence angle is accounted for.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 2 )