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A Prototype Software Package to Retrieve Soil Moisture From Sentinel-1 Data by Using a Bayesian Multitemporal Algorithm

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3 Author(s)
Pierdicca, N. ; Dept. Inf. Eng., Electron., Telecommun., Sapienza Univ. of Rome, Rome, Italy ; Pulvirenti, L. ; Pace, G.

The Sentinel-1 mission will offer the opportunity to obtain C-band radar data characterized by short revisit time, thus allowing for the generation of frequent soil moisture maps. This work presents a prototype software implementing a multitemporal approach to the problem of soil moisture retrieval using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data. The approach exploits the short revisit time of Sentinel-1 data by assuming the availability of a time series of SAR images that is integrated within a retrieval algorithm based on the Bayesian maximum a posteriori probability statistical criterion. The paper focuses on the combination of on-line and off-line processing that has been designed in order to decrease the time necessary to produce a soil moisture map, which may be a critical aspect of multitemporal approaches. It describes also the optimization of the algorithm carried out to find the set of algorithm parameters that allow obtaining the best tradeoff between accuracy of the estimates and computational efficiency. A set of simulations of C-band SAR data, produced by applying a well-established radar-backscattering model, is used to perform the optimization. The designed system is tested on a series of ERS-1 SAR data acquired on February-April 1994 in Central Italy with a revisit time of three days. The results indicate that the temporal trend of estimated soil moisture is consistent with the succession of rain events occurred throughout the period of ERS-1 acquisitions over the observed geographic area.

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Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 1 )