Dielectric Fluctuation and Random Motion over Ground Model (DF-RMoG): An Unsupervised Three-Stage Method of Forest Height Estimation Considering Dielectric Property Changes

Remote Sensing(2023)

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Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (Pol-InSAR) based forest height estimation for ecosystem monitoring and management has been developing rapidly in recent years. Spaceborne Pol-InSAR systems with long temporal baselines of several days always lead to severe temporal decorrelation, which can cause a forest height overestimation error. However, most forest height estimation studies have not considered the change in dielectric property as a factor that may cause temporal decorrelation with a long temporal baseline. Therefore, it is necessary to propose a new method that considers dielectric fluctuations and random motions of scattering elements to compensate for the temporal decorrelation effect. The lack of ground truth for forest canopy also needs a solution. Unsupervised methods could be a solution because they do not require the use of true values of tree heights as the ground truth to calculate their estimation accuracies. This paper aims to present an unsupervised forest height estimation method called Dielectric Fluctuation and Random Motion over Ground (DF-RMoG) to improve accuracy by considering the dielectric fluctuations and random motions. Its performance is investigated using Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS)-1 Pol-InSAR data acquired over a German forest site with temporal intervals of 46 and 92 days. The authors analyze the relationship between forest height and different parameters with DF-RMoG and conventional models. Compared with conventional models, the proposed DF-RMoG model significantly reduces the overestimation error due to temporal decorrelation in forest height estimation according to its lowest average forest height.
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Key words
forest height,Pol-InSAR,repeat-pass,spaceborne,temporal decorrelation,dielectric property
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