Wetlands are ecologically dynamic land areas that support more biological diversity than any other type of ecosystem on the planet. In addition to supporting an astonishing variety of plants and animals, wetlands filter and purify water, control flooding, and stabilize shorelines. However, as sources of fish, fuel, and water, wetlands are being threatened around the globe as the demand for these resources and land development grow.
Remote sensing provides a means of locating and studying wetlands. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) bounces a microwave radar signal off the surface of Earth to detect physical properties. Unlike optical technology, SAR can see through darkness, clouds, and rain. The characteristics of SAR make it a particularly effective tool for measuring moisture inundation, seasonal variations in water levels or habitat, large-scale vegetation patterns, and the effects of natural or human disturbance on wetland areas.
Spaceborne microwave remote sensing offers effective tools for characterizing wetlands, as microwave sensors are particularly sensitive to surface water and to vegetation structure, allowing monitoring of large, inaccessible areas on a temporal basis regardless of atmospheric conditions or solar illumination….