Rice monitoring with multi-temporal and dual-polarimetric terrasar-X data

Wolfgang Koppe, Martin L. Gnyp, Christoph Hütt, Yinkun Yao, Yuxin Miao, Xinping Chen, Georg Bareth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


This study assesses the use of TerraSAR-X data for monitoring rice cultivation in the Sanjiang Plain in Heilongjiang Province, Northeast China. The main objective is the understanding of the coherent copolarized X-band backscattering signature of rice at different phenological stages in order to retrieve growth status. For this, multi-temporal dual polarimetric TerraSAR-X High Resolution SpotLight data (HH/VV) as well as single polarized StripMap (VV) data were acquired over the test site. In conjunction with the satellite data acquisition, a ground truth field campaign was carried out. The backscattering coefficients at HH and VV of the observed fields were extracted on the different dates and analysed as a function of rice phenology to provide a physical interpretation for the copolarized backscatter response in a temporal and spatial manner. Then, a correlation analysis was carried out between TerraSAR-X backscattering signal and rice biomass of stem, leaf and head to evaluate the relationship with different vertical layers within the rice vegetation. HH and VV signatures show two phases of backscatter increase, one at the beginning up to 46 days after transplanting and a second one from 80 days after transplanting onwards. The first increase is related to increasing double bounce reflection from the surface-stem interaction. Then, a decreasing trend of both polarizations can be observed due to signal attenuation by increasing leaf density. A second slight increase is observed during senescence. Correlation analysis showed a significant relationship with different vertical layers at different phenological stages which prove the physical interpretation of X-band backscatter of rice. The seasonal backscatter coefficient showed that X-band is highly sensitive to changes in size, orientation and density of the dominant elements in the upper canopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)568-576
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Biomass estimation
  • Multi-temporal
  • Polarimetry
  • Rice monitoring
  • Sar
  • Terrasar-X


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