Bolognesi, SF; Pasolli, E; Belfiore, OR; De Michele, C; D'Urso, G (2020). Harmonized Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 Time Series Data to Detect Irrigated Areas: An Application in Southern Italy. REMOTE SENSING, 12(8), 1275.

Lack of accurate and up-to-date data associated with irrigated areas and related irrigation amounts is hampering the full implementation and compliance of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). In this paper, we describe the framework that we developed and implemented within the DIANA project to map the actual extent of irrigated areas in the Campania region (Southern Italy) during the 2018 irrigation season. For this purpose, we considered 202 images from the Harmonized Landsat Sentinel-2 (HLS) products (57 images from Landsat 8 and 145 images from Sentinel-2). Such data were preprocessed in order to extract a multitemporal Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) map, which was then smoothed through a gap-filling algorithm. We further integrated data coming from high-resolution (4 km) global satellite precipitation Precipitation Estimation from Remotely Sensed Information using Artificial Neural Networks (PERSIANN)-Cloud Classification System (CCS) products. We collected an extensive ground truth in the field represented by 2992 data points coming from three main thematic classes: bare soil and rainfed (class 0), herbaceous (class 1), and tree crop (class 2). This information was exploited to generate irrigated area maps by adopting a machine learning classification approach. We compared six different types of classifiers through a cross-validation approach and found that, in general, random forests, support vector machines, and boosted decision trees exhibited the best performances in terms of classification accuracy and robustness to different tested scenarios. We found an overall accuracy close to 90% in discriminating among the three thematic classes, which highlighted promising capabilities in the detection of irrigated areas from HLS products.