ANALYSES OF MULTI-YEAR SYNTHETIC APERTURE RADAR IMAGERY OF DRY-FALLEN INTERTIDAL FLATS
- Universität Hamburg, Institut für Meereskunde, Hamburg, Germany
Keywords: Synthetic Aperture Radar, intertidal flats, shellfish, oysters bivalve beds, polarization
Abstract. We analyzed a great deal of high-resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data of dry-fallen intertidal flats in the German Wadden Sea with respect to the imaging of sediments, macrophytes, and mussels. TerraSAR-X and Radarsat-2 images of five test areas along the German North Sea coast acquired between 2008 and 2013 form the basis for the present investigation and are used to demonstrate that pairs of SAR images, if combined through basic algebraic operations, can already provide useful indicators for morphological changes and for bivalve (oyster and mussel) beds. Depending on the type of sediment, but also on the water level and on environmental conditions (wind speed) exposed sediments may show up on SAR imagery as areas of enhanced, or reduced, radar backscattering. The (multi-temporal) analysis of series of such images allows for the detection of mussel beds, and our results show evidence that also single-acquisition, multi-polarization SAR imagery can be used for that purpose.