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Generation of soil moisture maps from ENVISAT/ASAR images in mountainous areas: a case study

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A method for producing soil moisture maps in mountainous areas by using Environment Satellite Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ENVISAT/ASAR) images at C-band is described in this paper. For this purpose, experimental campaigns were carried out in 2004 in the Cordevole watershed in Italy during ENVISAT passes. Ground truth measurements of soil and vegetation parameters were obtained simultaneously using satellite surveys. A preliminary classification of the area was carried out to mask those zones in which soil moisture measurement was unobtainable. The performance of an inversion algorithm, based on artificial neural networks (ANNs), in retrieving soil moisture content (SMC) from the collected images was then tested and compared with ground measurements. The results obtained on a restricted portion of the watershed show reasonable agreement of backscattering (0) with ground truth data and meteorological conditions, thus making it possible to extend the algorithm to the entire test area. The contribution of vegetation cover was then simulated by using a discrete elements model based on radiative transfer theory. Three pixel-by-pixel soil moisture maps of the test site, with four levels of soil moisture, were generated from the available images by using a new ANN that took into account the effects of vegetation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: CNR-IFAC, via Madonna del Piano, 10, Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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