G. Singh a, c, *, Y. Yamaguchi b, S.E. Park a and G. Venkataramanc a Graduate School of Science and Technology, Niigata University, Japan b Department of Information Engineering, Niigata University, Japan c CSRE, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay ,India *E*E-mail:

‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Introduction Objectives Data Used Study Area SAR Data Analysis of Snow Cover Area Summary and Conclusions

Why is snow study important? ‡ Snow Cover Area (SCA) extent 40% area of land in NH (in Jan. month) max. freshwater ‡ SCA 4% (in August ) (Rees,2005) ‡ Can be used for various applications e.g. Climate change study Snow hydrological study Avalanche study

‡ SAR Polarimetric Analysis of snow cover area
± Identification of suitable discriminating the snow pack parameters for

± Comparison of incoherent target decomposition theorems for snow classification ± To be integrated decomposition parameters for discriminating snow cover: Radar snow index development

SAR Data Used

‡ ALOS-PALSAR (L-band), ALOS(L(Quad Pol)

Study Area
Part of Himalayan snow covered terrain
GangotriGangotri-Badrinath region

(due to availability of full polarimetric data from JAXA )

Advanced Visible and Near Infrared Radiometer-2 Radiometer(AVNIR(AVNIR-2) Image over Badrinath area


Chirbatia Glacier (Tibet)

Satopanth Glacier (Uttrakhand, India)

SAR data analysis of Snow Cover Area -Single polarization based
-Multi polarization based -Quad Polarization based

Single polarization measurements
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Rott et al. (1988) Shi et al. (1994) Nagler and Rott (2000) Rao (2006)

Rott, H., Matzler, N., Strobi, D., Bruzzi, S., and Lenhart, K., 1988. Study on SAR land applications for snow and glacier monitoring. Contact Report 6618/85/F/FL(SC), ESA. Shi, J., Dozier, J., and Rott, H., 1994. Snow mapping in alpine regions with synthetic aperture radar. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 32 152±158. Nagler, T., and Rott, H., 2000. Retrieval of wet snow by means of multitemporal SAR data. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 38, 754±765. Rao, Y.S., Venkataraman, G., and Singh, G., 2006. ENVISAT-ASAR data analysis for snow cover mapping over Gangotri region. Proceedings of SPIE, 6410, 59-66. (doi:10.1117/12.693845).

Rott et al. (1988) Shi et al. (1994)

‡No correct classification is possible for foreshortening /layover/shadow region ‡Some snow free area are misclassified as snow covered, which may be caused by wet soil

Nagler and Rott (2000) Rao (2006)

‡Total snow covered area are not possible to classify

Repeat Pass Ratio Method for Snow discrimination

(a) (VV)

(b) VV

(c) HH

(d) HV



(f) HH/VH

(g) HH/VV

(a) Snow map using ENVISAT-ASAR (19-05-2007)(b) to (g) snow map using ALOS-PALSAR (12-05-2007)

Problem with single Pol. SAR data for snow mapping
AVNIR-2 (06-05-07) Snow Map (ASAR) VV Snow Map (PALSAR) VV



Single Pass Multi-polarization MultiRatio Method

snow map using ALOS-PALSAR (12-05-2007)

Problem with multi Pol. SAR data for snow mapping
AVNIR-2 (06-05-07) Snow Map (PALSAR) (HH/HV)


Need for quad pol data capability analysis to discriminate snow
PALSAR Data Polarimetric Signature based PF values / Eigenvalues based PF image



The coherent decomposition:
(no change in target with time e.g. man made target)

Incoherent decomposition:
(distributed target, movement in target, natural targets) -Eigenvalues Based (e.g. H/A/Alpha) -Model Based (e.g. Freeman,Yamaguchi) Freeman,Yamaguchi)




H/A/Alpha Wishart supervised classified image

Yamaguchi model based Wishart supervised classified image

1Snow (Cyan) 2.Rock (yellow) 3.DCG (Gold) 4.Vegetation/Forest (Green) 5.Unidentified/ Layover (Black) 6.Settlements/ Double bounce(Red)

1.Snow (Cyan) 2.Rock (Gold) 3.DCG (Yellow) 4.Vegetation/Forest (Green) 5. Unidentified/ Layover (Black) 6. Settlements/ Double bounce (Red)

Debris Covered Snow Snow Rock DCG Settlement 95.26 0.25 1.19 0.00 0.00 0.00 Rock Glacier (DCG) 0.00 78.07 5.82 2.42 6.10 16.69 0.43 14.42 81.70 0.97 18.09 10.69 0.00 0.00 0.00 92.97 0.00 0.00 Settlement

Vegetation 0.00 3.33 6.77 3.15 75.81 0.00

Layover 4.31 3.93 4.51 0.48 0.00 72.62

H/A/ Wishart supervised classified

Vegetation Layover

Snow Snow 98.55 5.26 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

Rock 0.33 79.25 0.00 8.75 12.60 0.00

DCG 0.36 0.00 86.58 0.00 5.91 4.14

Settlement 0.00 1.45 0.00 89.96 0.00 0.00

Vegetation 0.43 14.04 2.24 1.28 81.14 0.00

Layover 0.32 0.00 11.18 0.00 0.35 95.86

Modified 4-component -Wishart supervised classified

Rock DCG Settlement Vegetation Layover

Polarimetric Signature and Fractional Polarization Value
‡ Co-polarized and cross polarized polarimetric signatures (3-D graphical)have been represented by the synthesized backscatter response from snow, rock, vegetation and other features. ‡ Fractional polarization (F),

P max  P min Fractional Polarizati on ( F ) ! P max  P min
Where maximum (Pmax) and minimum (Pmin) intensity value of the co-polarization (Pmax) (Pmin) coor cross-polarization components of the radar signal crossF gives the polarization purity of return signal (Snow 85% (Co-pol.), 93% (X-pol.); (Co(XVegetation 59%(Co-pol); Debris covered glacier 33% (co-pol.) etc.) 59%(Co-pol); (coetc.) [Singh et al., 2008]

ALOS PALSAR Quad Polarization SLC Data Extract Scattering Matrix(S) Multi-Looked (6×1) in (Azimuth × Range) and make Coherency Matrix (T3) (HV VH) Polarimetric Speckle Filtering Generate Eigenvalues Image ( 1,
2, 3)

Generate PF value image
0 e PF
! 1

3P3 e 1 P1  P 2  P 3

Radar Snow Index

PF•0.5 &


YES Snow Cover Area

Snow Free Area

‡ Eigenvalue based polarization fraction image shows that the snow cover area has high polarization fraction value as compared to other targets ‡ It is found that the lower central part of image shows high PF value but this part of image is snow free and it is covered by layover affected area due to low incident angle of ALOS-PALSAR (23.50) and high ALOS23. topography of Himalaya


PF (Cyan >0.5 & Black <=0.5)

‡ There is need to explore supporting parameters to discriminate snow cover properly ‡ Entropy (H), anisotropy (A), scattering mechanism angle (alpha), (1-H) and H (1A), Lunenburg anisotropy, Radar Vegetation Index (RVI) have been studied to find out which one can support the results of snow discrimination obtained through polarization fraction

‡ All of these parameters are also capable of discriminating snow from other targets but do not have a proper range to suppress layover affected snow free area from snow ‡ Normalized 3 have wide range from 0 to 1, which is able to separate the topographic distortion affected area and other features



Cyan <0.015 and Black =>0.015

Problem with single/dual Pol SAR data for snow mapping - solved by quad Pol

(a) (b) (c) (a)H/A/Alpha classified (b) 4-component classified(c) RSI based Snow map

Summary and Conclusions

Repeat Pass Ratio Method for Snow discrimination
‡ It has been observed that snow area at the accumulation region of the glacier (top right side of the image) was classified as snowsnow-free area ‡ Various combinations of polarizations are explored and found that all combinations with same polarization are suitable for wet snow mapping only

Single Pass Multi-polarization MultiRatio Method
‡ The combination HH/HV ratio images of PALSAR give more information about total snow cover ‡ Co-polarized HH/VV ratio is not a good Codiscriminator for snow classification

Fully polarimetric SAR based method
‡ Using Wishart classifier, ALOS-PALSAR data have been classified into major distinct classes viz., snow cover, vegetation, debris covered glacier, rock and layover/unidentified areas. ‡ The user accuracy of snow classes is higher than other classes. Hence full polarimetric ALOS-PALSAR data is useful for snow cover monitoring. ‡ Furthermore, it was observed that user accuracy of snow is slightly better in four component decomposition based classification as compared to H/A/Alpha based classification .

‡ The PF value for snow is high as compared to other features, which indicates that the return signal is polarized or can be said that L- band ALOS PALSAR data is capable of discriminating snow from other targets. Based on the eigenvalues calculated, polarization fraction image also shows that the snow cover area has high polarisation fraction value as compared to other target. ‡ Finally, a novel Radar Snow Index is introduced by integrating the decomposed parameters. ‡ RSI does not require any training sample and topographic information for snow discrimination from other targets.

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