The impact of system noise in polarimetric SAR imagery on oil spill observations
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The effects of both system additive and multiplicative noise on the X-, C-, and L-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data covering oil slicks are examined. Prior studies have attempted to characterize such oil slicks, primarily through analysis of polarimetric SAR data. In this article, we factor in system noise that is added to the backscattered signal, introducing artifacts that can easily be confused with random and volume scattering. This confusion occurs when additive and/or multiplicative system noise dominates the measured backscattered signal. Polarimetric features used in this article are shown to be affected by both additive and multiplicative system noise, some more than others. This article highlights the importance of considering specifically multiplicative noise in the estimation of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The SNR based on additive noise should at least be above 10 dB and the SNR involving both additive and multiplicative noise should at least be above 0 dB. The SNR from TerraSAR-X (TS-X) and Radarsat-2 (RS-2) is below 0 dB for the majority of the oil slick pixels when considering both the additive and multiplicative noise, rendering these data unsuitable for any analysis of the scattering properties and characterization. These results are in contrast to the reduced impact of noise on oil slicks detected by the L-band UAVSAR system. In particular, we find that there is no need to invoke exotic scattering mechanisms to explain the characteristics of the data. We also recommend a noise subtraction for any polarimetric scattering analysis.
CitationEspeseth, M., Brekke, C., Jones, C.E., Holt, B. & Freeman, A. (2020). The impact of system noise in polarimetric SAR imagery on oil spill observations. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 58(6), 4194-4214. https://doi.org/10.1109/TGRS.2019.2961684
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