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Snow Cover Mapping Using Polarization Fraction Variation With Temporal RADARSAT-2 C-Band Full-Polarimetric SAR Data Over the Indian Himalayas

Publication Date
Dec 03, 2018
DSpace at IIT Bombay
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Remote sensing is an indispensable tool for Earth observation over large areal extent. Snow cover extent monitoring has been one such application where microwave sensors have been a popular choice due to their sensitivity toward the dielectric property. Snow is a dynamic matter since its dielectric state is dependent on climatic factors prevailing locally around it. In the literature, the polarization fraction (PF) has been used for landcover characterization. In this paper, we utilize the seasonal variation of the PF for mapping snow cover over the Himalayan terrain. Temporal variation of the strength in the polarized return due to change in landcover and season is the prime motivation behind this approach. In addition, the effect of SAR data acquisition time on mapping algorithms is considered in this work which is seldom discussed in the literature. Furthermore, a study is conducted to analyze the seasonal variation in the entropy (H) and the scattering type (a) parameters over the bare snow-covered ground and the forested areas. The seasonal response of the terrain in the H/a plane corresponding to specific scattering characteristics is analyzed. The applicability of the approach is tested with RADARSAT-2 (FQ28) C-band full polarimetric image pairs over the Manali-Dhundi region, Himachal Pradesh, India, located in the western Hindu-Kush Himalayas. The snow cover map is explicitly validated with in situ observatory measurements and optical satellite imagery.

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