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The tropiSAR airborne campaign in French Guiana: Objectives, description, and oserved temporal behavior of the backscatter signal

Dubois-Fernandez P., Le Toan T., Daniel S., Oriot H., Chave J., Blanc L., Villard L., Davidson M., Petit M.. 2012. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 50 (8) : p. 3228-3241.

The TropiSAR campaign has been conducted in August 2009 in French Guiana with the ONERA airborne radar system SETHI. The main objective of this campaign was to collect data to support the Phase A of the 7th Earth Explorer candidate mission, BIOMASS. Several specific questions needed to be addressed to consolidate the mission concept following the Phase 0 studies, and the data collection strategy was constructed accordingly. More specifically, a tropical forest data set was required in order to provide test data for the evaluation of the foreseen inversion algorithms and data products. The paper provides a description of the resulting data set which is now available through the European Space Agency website under the airborne campaign link. First results from the TropiSAR database analysis are presented with two in-depth analyses about both the temporal radiometric variation and temporal coherence at P-band. The temporal variations of the backscatter values are less than 0.5 dB throughout the campaign, and the coherence values are observed to stay high even after 22 days. These results are essential for the BIOMASS mission. The observed temporal stability of the backscatter is a good indicator of the expected robustness of the biomass estimation in tropical forests, from cross-polarized backscatter values as regarding environmental changes such as soil moisture. The high temporal coherence observed after a 22-day period is a prerequisite for SAR Polarimetric Interferometry and Tomographic applications in a single satellite configuration. The conclusion then summarizes the paper and identifies the next steps in the analysis.

Mots-clés : biomasse; méthode statistique; télédétection; forêt tropicale humide; guyane française

Thématique : Foresterie - Considérations générales; Production forestière; Méthodes de relevé; Méthodes mathématiques et statistiques

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