Bouvet, A, Le Toan, T, Lam-Dao, N (2009). Monitoring of the Rice Cropping System in the Mekong Delta Using ENVISAT/ASAR Dual Polarization Data. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON GEOSCIENCE AND REMOTE SENSING, 47(2), 517-526.
The rice cropping system in Asia is undergoing major changes to cope with increasing demography and changing climate, making rice monitoring a critical issue. Past studies have demonstrated the use of C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to map rice areas. The methods were based on the temporal change of intensity backscattering coefficient of vertically or horizontally co-polarized data (VV or HH). In this paper, we assess the use of the HH/VV polarization ratio derived from Advanced SAR (ASAR) data from ENVISAT data for the production of rice paddy maps. The approach is based on past knowledge on the polarization behavior of rice canopy, i.e., VV backscattering is much lower than HH during a large part of the rice season, due to the attenuation of the wave by the vertical structure of the plants. The methodology is developed for the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, where a complex cropping pattern is found (one to three crops of rice per year). The approach includes a statistical analysis of the HH/VV distributions of rice and non-rice classes at different dates. The analysis results confirm that HH/VV can be used as classifier and point out the need for relevant speckle filtering prior to classification. A classification method is developed and applied to single- and multidate data sets. The methods are tested at one district of the province of An Giang and extended to the whole province. Comparisons of the mapping results to geographic-information-system land-use data and official agricultural statistics show very good agreement. The method will be further applied to the entire Mekong Delta.