Monitoring Change in Vegetation and Hydrology with ALOS PALSAR

Don Atwood(1) and Franz Meyer(1)

(1) Alaska Satellite Facility, 903 Koyukuk Dr., Fairbanks, Alaska, United States


ALOS PALSAR offers unique opportunities for performing geospatial research. The vast proportion of SAR research has been performed using single polarization, C-band data. PALSAR, however, affords enhanced coherence via its longer wavelength and the possible implementation of multi-spectral-like techniques through its multiple polarizations. The intent of this presentation is to describe the application of these new capabilities to the classification of land and water masses in Alaska:

• Wildfire is natural process in ecosystem evolution. However, in Alaska, the magnitude of the effected areas can be staggering. In 2004, more than 6.5 M acres were burned with significant impact upon air quality. At the close of each fire season, the extent of the year’s burn must be delineated. This presentation will address how dual polarization PALSAR can be used to classify burn scars and compare the accuracy of the technique with existing methods employing single polarization, C-band SAR.

• Along Alaska’s Arctic coast, global warming is impacting the rates of coastal erosion, while changing permafrost is leading to alteration in ponds and lakes on the North Slope. With its immunity to cloud cover, PALSAR is well suited for delineating coastlines and the shores of inland waters. This presentation will address a novel technique, employing polarimetric signature, coherence, filtering, and amplitude classification, that facilitates hydrological identification. Sample results will be contrasted with historical data to show the extent of past change and to exemplify a viable method for on-going monitoring of a rapidly evolving ecosystem.


Symposium presentation


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