Preliminary analysis of ERS-1 SAR for forest ecosystem studies

TitlePreliminary analysis of ERS-1 SAR for forest ecosystem studies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsM. Dobson C, Pierce L, Sarabandi K, Ulaby F, Sharik TL
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing

In this paper we examine an image obtained by the C-band VV-polarized ERS-1 SAR with respect to potential land applications. A scene obtained near noon on Aug. 15, 1991 along the U.S.-Canadian border near Sault Ste. Marie is calibrated relative to an array of trihedral corner reflectors and active radar calibrators distributed across the swath. Extensive contemporaneous ground observations of forest stands are used to predict radar backscattering coefficients at the time of the SAR overpass using a first-order vector radiative transfer model (MIMICS). These predictions generally agree with the calibrated ERS-1 data to within 1 dB. It is demonstrated that the dynamic range of radar backscattering coefficient is sufficient to perform limited discrimination of various forest and grassland communities even for a single-date observation. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that retrieval of near-surface soil moisture is feasible for grass-covered soils when plant biomass is less than 1 tonne/ha.