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Seasonal and short-term variability of multifrequency, polarimetric radar backscatter of Alpine terrain from SIR-C/X-SAR and AIRSAR data

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2 Author(s)
Floricioiu, D. ; Inst. of Meteorol. & Geophys., Innsbruck Univ., Austria ; Rott, H.

Signatures of glaciated and ice free areas were analyzed from polarimetric SAR data at C-, L-, and P-band and single polarization X-band data. The data base includes an AIRSAR scene from June 25, 1991, and SIR-C/X-SAR images from April and October 1994 (SRL-1 and SRL-2), acquired over the high Alpine test site Ötztal in Austria. The environmental conditions were different at the time of the three experiments. Ground measurements, meteorological observations, and backscattering modeling are the basis for interpreting the backscattering signatures. Seasonal differences are due mainly to the presence or absence of snow and due to changes of its properties. Short term variations of snow conditions can be monitored at C- and X-band. For unglaciated areas, the surface roughness has a dominant influence on backscattering in all seasons. The dependence of the mean backscattering and correlation coefficients on the incidence angle was analyzed. Spectral and depolarization ratios and the magnitude of the HHVV correlation coefficient were selected as components of the multidimensional feature vector for studying the target separability. Good separability was found between the accumulation and ablation areas on the glaciers, whereas on ice-free areas, the dominance of surface roughness limits the discrimination of different surface types. Short-term variations of backscattering have significant impact for the classification of accumulation and ablation areas on glaciers, as verified by comparisons with field data

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 12 )