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Sensitivity of X-, C-, and L-Band SAR Backscatter to Burn Severity in Mediterranean Pine Forests

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5 Author(s)
Mihai A. Tanase ; Department of Geography, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain ; Maurizio Santoro ; Juan de la Riva ; Fernando P?rez-Cabello
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Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data at X-, C-, and L-bands have been investigated to determine the relationship between backscatter and forest burn severity over three sites in Spain. The dependence of SAR backscatter on local incidence angle and environmental conditions has been analyzed. At HH and VV polarizations, the backscatter increased with burn severity for X- and C-bands, whereas it decreased for L-band. Cross-polarized (HV) backscatter decreased with burn severity for all frequencies. Determination coefficients were used to quantify the relationship between radar backscatter and burn severity for given intervals of local incidence angle. For X- and C-band copolarized data, higher determination coefficients were observed for slopes oriented toward the sensors, whereas for cross-polarized data, the determination coefficients were higher for slopes oriented away from the sensor. At L-band, the association strength of cross-polarized data to burn severity was high for all local incidence angles. C- and L-band cross-polarized backscatter showed better potential for burn severity estimation in the Mediterranean environment when the local incidence angle is accounted for. The small dynamic range observed for X-band data could hinder its use in forests affected by fires.

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IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 10 )