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Multitemporal Observations of Sugarcane by TerraSAR-X Images

Baghdadi N., Cresson R., Todoroff P., Moinet S.. 2010. Sensors, 10 (10) : p. 8899-8919.

DOI: 10.3390/s101008899

The objective of this study is to investigate the potential of TerraSAR-X (X-band) in monitoring sugarcane growth on Reunion Island (located in the Indian Ocean). Multi-temporal TerraSAR data acquired at various incidence angles (17°, 31°, 37°, 47°, 58°) and polarizations (HH, HV, VV) were analyzed in order to study the behaviour of SAR (synthetic aperture radar) signal as a function of sugarcane height and NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index). The potential of TerraSAR for mapping the sugarcane harvest was also studied. Radar signal increased quickly with crop height until a threshold height, which depended on polarization and incidence angle. Beyond this threshold, the signal increased only slightly, remained constant, or even decreased. The threshold height is slightly higher with cross polarization and higher incidence angles (47° in comparison with 17° and 31°). Results also showed that the co-polarizations channels (HH and VV) were well correlated. High correlation between SAR signal and NDVI calculated from SPOT-4/5 images was observed. TerraSAR data showed that after strong rains the soil contribution to the backscattering of sugarcane fields can be important for canes with heights of terminal visible dewlap (htvd) less than 50 cm (total cane heights around 155 cm). This increase in radar signal after strong rains could involve an ambiguity between young and mature canes. Indeed, the radar signal on TerraSAR images acquired in wet soil conditions could be of the same order for fields recently harvested and mature sugarcane fields, making difficult the detection of cuts. Finally, TerraSAR data at high spatial resolution were shown to be useful for monitoring sugarcane harvest when the fields are of small size.

Mots-clés : saccharum officinarum; télédétection; radar; surveillance des cultures; stade de développement végétal; récolte; imagerie par satellite; image spot; réunion; france

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