An Assessment of the GEDI Lasers’ Capabilities in Detecting Canopy Tops and Their Penetration in a Densely Vegetated, Tropical Area - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Remote Sensing Year : 2022

An Assessment of the GEDI Lasers’ Capabilities in Detecting Canopy Tops and Their Penetration in a Densely Vegetated, Tropical Area

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Abstract

The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI), specifically designed to measure vertical forest structures, has acquired, since April 2019, more than 35 billion waveforms of Earth’s surface on a nearly global scale. GEDI is equipped with 3 identical 1064 nm lasers with a power of 10 mJ per shot, where 1 laser is split into 2 lasers, resulting in two 5 mJ coverage lasers and two 10 mJ full-power lasers. In this study, we evaluate the potential of GEDI’s four lasers to penetrate through canopies and detect the ground, and their capabilities to detect the top of the canopies over a tropical forest (in French Guiana) characterized by a dense canopy cover and tall trees. The accurate detection of both of these surfaces is the first step in characterizing vertical forest structures. The SRTM Digital Elevation Model (DEM) is used as a reference point for elevations while a canopy height model (CHM), derived from airborne and spaceborne LiDAR data, is used as a reference for canopy heights. In addition, the ground and canopy-top elevations estimated from NASA’s Land, Vegetation, and Ice Sensor (LVIS, 1064 nm full-waveform LiDAR, 5 mJ per shot, ~8 km altitude) are used as a benchmark for comparison with GEDI’s lasers. Results indicate that GEDI’s coverage and full-power lasers, even after the application of a preliminary filter that removes around 50% of acquisitions, tend to underestimate tree heights in densely vegetated, tall forests. Moreover, GEDI’s coverage lasers also exhibited a lower level of performance in comparison to both the full-power lasers and LVIS. Overall, the average estimated maximum canopy heights (RH100) for a CHM greater than 30 m was 24.4 m with the coverage lasers, 32.1 m with the full-power lasers, and 36.7 m with LVIS. The analysis of shots with high-beam sensitivity (sensitivity ≥ 98%) showed that they tend to have a better probability of reaching the ground and have better detection of canopy tops for both GEDI laser types. Nonetheless, GEDI’s coverage lasers still showed an underestimation of canopy heights with an average RH100 of 29.8 m, while for GEDI’s full-power lasers and LVIS, the average RH100 was 35.2 m and 37.7 m, respectively. Finally, the assessment of the acquisition time on the detection of the ground return and the top of the canopies showed that, for the coverage lasers, solar noise could affect the detection of the ground return as acquisitions made during early mornings or late afternoons have more penetration than shots acquired between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. The effect of acquisition time on the detection of the tops of canopies showed that solar noise slightly affected the coverage lasers. Regarding the full-power lasers, the acquisition time of the shots seem to affect neither the penetration of the lasers, nor the detection of the tops of canopies.
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Dates and versions

hal-03734539 , version 1 (21-07-2022)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Ibrahim Fayad, Nicolas Baghdadi, Kamel Lahssini. An Assessment of the GEDI Lasers’ Capabilities in Detecting Canopy Tops and Their Penetration in a Densely Vegetated, Tropical Area. Remote Sensing, 2022, 14 (13), pp.2969. ⟨10.3390/rs14132969⟩. ⟨hal-03734539⟩
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