Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 268

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Elsevier BV
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Application of L-band SAR for mapping tundra shrub biomass, leaf area index, and rainfall interception
Qianyu Chang | Simon Zwieback | Ben DeVries | Aaron Berg

Rapid shrub expansion has been observed across the Arctic, driving a need for regional-scale estimates of shrub biomass and shrub-mediated ecosystem processes such as rainfall interception. Synthetic-Aperture Radar (SAR) data have been shown sensitive to vegetation canopy characteristics across many ecosystems, thereby potentially providing an accurate and cost-effective tool to quantify shrub canopy cover. This study evaluated the sensitivity of L-band Advanced Land Observing Satellite 2 (ALOS-2) data to the aboveground biomass and Leaf Area Index (LAI) of dwarf birch and alder in the Trail Valley Creek watershed, Northwest Territories, Canada. The σ° VH /σ° VV ratio showed strong sensitivity to both LAI (R 2 = 0.72 with respect to in-situ measurements) and wet aboveground biomass (R 2 = 0.63) of dwarf birch. Our ALOS-2-derived maps revealed high variability of birch shrub LAI and biomass across spatial scales. The LAI map was fed into the sparse Gash model to estimate shrub rainfall interception, an important but under-studied component of the Arctic water balance. Results suggest that on average across the watershed, 17 ± 3% of incoming rainfall was intercepted by dwarf birch (during summer 2018), highlighting the importance of shrub rainfall interception for the regional water balance. These findings demonstrate the unexploited potential of L-band SAR observations from satellites for quantifying the impact of shrub expansion on Arctic ecosystem processes. • L-band SAR is a skillful predictor for tundra shrub biomass and leaf area index. • High spatial variation in tundra shrub cover captured by L-band SAR. • Distributed rainfall interception by shrub mapped across the watershed. • Amount of interception closely linked to shrub leaf area index.

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Review of GPM IMERG performance: A global perspective
Rajani Kumar Pradhan | Yannis Markonis | Mijael Rodrigo Vargas Godoy | Anahí Villalba-Pradas | Konstantinos M. Andreadis | Efthymios I. Nikolopoulos | Simon Michael Papalexiou | Akif Rahim | Francisco J. Tapiador | Martin Hanel

• A comprehensive review and analysis of IMERG validation studies from 2016 to 2019. • There is robust representation of spatio-temporal patterns of precipitation. • Discrepancies can be found in extreme and light precipitation, and the winter season. • The 30-min scale has not yet been sufficiently evaluated. • Using IMERG in hydrological simulation results to high variance in their performance. Accurate, reliable, and high spatio-temporal resolution precipitation data are vital for many applications, including the study of extreme events, hydrological modeling, water resource management, and hydroclimatic research in general. In this study, we performed a systematic review of the available literature to assess the performance of the Integrated Multi-Satellite Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) products across different geographical locations and climatic conditions around the globe. Asia, and in particular China, are the subject of the largest number of IMERG evaluation studies on the continental and country level. When compared to ground observational records, IMERG is found to vary with seasons, as well as precipitation type, structure, and intensity. It is shown to appropriately estimate and detect regional precipitation patterns, and their spatial mean, while its performance can be improved over mountainous regions characterized by orographic precipitation, complex terrains, and for winter precipitation. Furthermore, despite IMERG's better performance compared to other satellite products in reproducing spatio-temporal patterns and variability of extreme precipitation, some limitations were found regarding the precipitation intensity. At the temporal scales, IMERG performs better at monthly and annual time steps than the daily and sub-daily ones. Finally, in terms of hydrological application, the use of IMERG has resulted in significant discrepancies in streamflow simulation. However, and most importantly, we find that each new version that replaces the previous one, shows substantial improvement in almost every spatiotemporal scale and climatic condition. Thus, despite its limitations, IMERG evolution reveals a promising path for current and future applications.