Brian Brisco, Senior Research Scientist at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing (CCRS), discusses Synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) and Water resources. SAR operates in the microwave wavelength, which allows it to work in any weather and during the day and night -- critical for many water resource applications. It's easy to see water in the landscape, and can penetrate through vegetation to identify flooded vegetation.
CCRS has been using SAR for flood mapping since 1997. SAR can be used to observe changes in lakeshore, and in surface water volume in any given area. For example, SAR was used recently for Edmonton and Calgary for water level management, and to understand the changes in the surface water level using bright target thresholding techniques or the phase information in polarimetric decomposition methods. New data was received every 21 days, so they were able to determine a seasonal understanding in the changes to water levels.
Lately SAR has been used with optical data for wetland classification. Prototype techniques and approaches have been developed for the application of satellite SAR to the mapping of flooded vegetation; hundreds of information products have been generated and shared with collaborators.
NRCan research is using SAR as the central dataset underpinning routine surface water mapping. Work includes the RADARSAT constellation Mission -- 3 satellites, with 4 day repeat coverage. The first launch will be in 2016.
This presentation was a part of the Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Centre, LiDAR/SAR Wetland and Water Monitoring Workshop in June of 2014.