Using Radar Remote Sensing to Map Wetlands in the Chesapeake Bay
We have been using Sentinel-1 and ALOS PALSAR measurements to characterize vegetation and inundation dynamics with the future goal of characterizing salinity gradients and tidal regimes. Differences in radar backscatter from various surface targets has been shown to effectively discriminate between dry soil, wet soil, vegetated areas, and open water. Radar polarization differences and ratios are particularly effective at distinguishing between vegetated and non-vegetated areas. Utilizing these principles, we have been characterizing various wetland types using supervised classification techniques including: Random Forest, Maximum Likelihood, and Minimum Distance. In addition to using radar backscatter, we have also been using positional parameters to perform these classifications. The National Wetlands Inventory has been used as training and validation data. Ideally, the techniques we outline in this research will be applicable to the characterization of wetlands in coastal areas outside of Chesapeake Bay.