Estimation of biophysical parameters in boreal forests from ERS and JERS SAR interferometry
The thesis describes investigations concerning the evaluation of ERS and JERS SAR images and repeat-pass interferometric SAR images for the retrieval of biophysical parameters in boreal forests. The availability of extensive data sets of images over several test sites located in Sweden, Finland and Siberia has allowed analysis of temporal dynamics of ERS and JERS backscatter and coherence, and of ERS interferometric phase. Modelling of backscatter, coherence and InSAR phase has been performed by means of the Water Cloud Model (WCM) and the Interferometric Water Cloud Model (IWCM); sensitivity analysis and implications for the retrieval of forest biophysical parameters have been thoroughly discussed. Model inversion has been carried out for stem volume retrieval using ERS coherence, ERS backscatter and JERS backscatter, whereas for tree height estimation the ERS interferometric phase has been used. Multi-temporal combination of ERS coherence images, and to a lesser extent of JERS backscatter images, can provide stem volume estimates comparable to stand-wise ground-based measurements. Since the information content of the interferometric phase is strongly degraded by phase noise and uncorrected atmospheric artefacts, the retrieved tree height shows large errors.