Soils play a key role in shaping the environment and in risk assessment. We characterized the soils of bare agricultural plots using TerraSAR-X (9.5 GHz) data acquired in 2009 and 2010. We analyzed the behavior of the TerraSAR-X signal for two configurations, HH-25° and HH-50°, with regard to several soil conditions: moisture content, surface roughness, soil composition and soil-surface structure (slaking crust). The TerraSAR-X signal was more sensitive to soil moisture at a low (25°) incidence angle than at a high incidence angle (50°). For high soil moisture (> 25%), the TerraSAR-X signal was more sensitive to soil roughness at a high incidence angle (50°) than at a low incidence angle (25°). The high spatial resolution of the TerraSAR-X data (1 m) enabled the soil composition and slaking crust to be analyzed at the within-plot scale based on the radar signal. The two loamy-soil categories that composed our training plots did not differ sufficiently in their percentages of sand and clay to be discriminated by the X-band radar signal. However, the spatial distribution of slaking crust could be detected when soil moisture variation is observed between soil crusted and soil without crust. Indeed, areas covered by slaking crust could have greater soil moisture and consequently a greater backscattering signal than soils without crust.
Remote Sensing of Environment – Elsevier
Published: Aug 15, 2011
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