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Unsupervised Machine Learning for GNSS Reflectometry Inland Water Body Detection

Kossieris, Stylianos; Asgarimehr, Milad; Wickert, Jens

Inland water bodies, wetlands and their dynamics have a key role in a variety of scientific, economic, and social applications. They are significant in identifying climate change, water resource management, agricultural productivity, and the modeling of land–atmosphere exchange. Changes in the extent and position of water bodies are crucial to the ecosystems. Mapping water bodies at a global scale is a challenging task due to the global variety of terrains and water surface. However, the sensitivity of spaceborne Global Navigation Satellite System Reflectometry (GNSS-R) to different land surface properties offers the potential to detect and monitor inland water bodies. The extensive dataset available in the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), launched in December 2016, is used in our investigation. Although the main mission of CYGNSS was to measure the ocean wind speed in hurricanes and tropical cyclones, we show its capability of detecting and mapping inland water bodies. Both bistatic radar cross section (BRCS) and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) can be used to detect, identify, and map the changes in the position and extent of inland waterbodies. We exploit the potential of unsupervised machine learning algorithms, more specifically the clustering methods, K-Means, Agglomerative, and Density-based Spatial Clustering of Applications with Noise (DBSCAN), for the detection of inland waterbodies. The results are evaluated based on the Copernicus land cover classification gridded maps, at 300 m spatial resolution. The outcomes demonstrate that CYGNSS data can identify and monitor inland waterbodies and their tributaries at high temporal resolution. K-Means has the highest Accuracy (93.5%) compared to the DBSCAN (90.3%) and Agglomerative (91.6%) methods. However, the DBSCAN method has the highest Recall (83.1%) as compared to Agglomerative (82.7%) and K-Means (79.2%). The current study offers valuable insights and analysis for further investigations in the field of GNSS-R and machine learning.
Published in: Remote Sensing, 10.3390/rs15123206, MDPI