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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Jonesboro, Arkansas » Delta Water Management Research » Research » Research Project #441446

Research Project: Integration of L-band, C-band, and Optical Observations for Agricultural Monitoring

Location: Delta Water Management Research

Project Number: 6024-13000-003-062-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jul 9, 2021
End Date: Jul 29, 2022

Moderate spatial resolution, operational time-series SAR data can transform current agricultural decision support tools. Current needs in the community focus on use of SAR for assessment and monitoring of crop type and extent followed by indicators of conditions such as LAI and soil moisture. The overall scientific goal of the project centers on advancing the use of SAR and SAR-optical fusion to support uptake of planned NISAR data for crop inventory and soil moisture and LAI monitoring. The project will combine optical and multi-frequency L-band and C-band microwave (SAR) data to generate improved agricultural products in terms of better discrimination of different crop types and better retrieval of biophysical parameters (LAI, soil moisture). Since NISAR data will not be available through to the completion of the project (the launch is expected in late 2021), we will use UAVSAR and multitemporal PALSAR-2 to acquire L-band data. For C-band, we will use globally available Sentinel-1 data from the European Copernicus program and select Radarsat-2 (through involvement of our Canadian collaborators).

Summarizing, the proposed research activities represent a well-developed technical plan broken into five major tasks. Task 1 will aim at collecting, preparing and harmonizing all necessary datasets that will be used within the project. Task 2 will focus on crop extent and type mapping at diverse development sites and large area inventory across the central USA. Task 3 will focus on using multi-scale L-band including UAVSAR for mapping field scale crop attributes (soil moisture, LAI). Task 4 will focus on validation activities (in situ and ground truth comparisons) of the developed products across multiple test sites. Task 5 will be devoted to project management, NISAR activities, collaboration with international partners, and outreach and training activities.