Ensembles of multiple models for soil moisture retrieval from remote sensing data over agricultural areas : A deep learning-based framework

Sedighi, A. and Hamzeh, S. and Alavipanah, S.K. and Naseri, A.A. and Atkinson, P.M. (2024) Ensembles of multiple models for soil moisture retrieval from remote sensing data over agricultural areas : A deep learning-based framework. Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, 35: 101243.

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Abstract

In agricultural areas, most surface soil moisture (SM) retrieval models are unstable in terms of their accuracy and performance during crop growth. As a result, there is no consensus on which model performs optimally during the agricultural season. This is because of the uncertainties associated with model physics, initial conditions, model inversion processes, input data, vegetation attenuation and soil characteristics. To better deal with these practical concerns, we propose a simple, but robust SM retrieval method of using combination of multiple models based on deep learning and multi-model ensemble approach, called the DL-MME method, which makes use of the ‘collective intelligence’ and ‘wisdom of crowds’ concepts. The advantages of this method are: (1) robustness to model selection, and (2) robustness to model calibration during the growing season. In addition, this method is less dependent on one type of data across various agricultural areas compared to the single model approach. Firstly, the coupled water cloud model (WCM) and soil backscattering models (Oh model or advanced integral equation model (AIEM)) with different vegetation descriptors were calibrated and validated during the growing season in sugarcane and winter wheat fields for Sentinel-1 backscattering coefficients (VV and VH). SM was also retrieved by employing the trapezoid model (OPTRAM) with different parameters from Sentinel-2 images. To optimize SM retrieval computations, we used the outputs from optical and SAR models, auxiliary features, and reliable in situ SM measurements as inputs to a deep learning convolutional neural network (DL-CNN). For sugarcane and wheat fields in the early stages of crop growth, WCM models retrieved more accurate time-series SM than optical models. OPTRAM soil moisture retrievals showed greater accuracy in the late crop growing season. Time-series SM retrieval accuracy using DL-MME was higher than for the optical and semi-empirical SAR models. According to the results of the in situ validation for wheat (sugarcane) fields, the minimum MAE by an optimal combination of models was around 0.01 (0.02) m3m−3 (RMSE = 0.036 (0.074) m3m−3; R = 0.87 (0.71)). The findings demonstrate that our method is reliable and feasible for SM retrieval. Additionally, our method provides a way to select an optimal model for retrieving time-series SM during the crop growing season.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment
ID Code:
220854
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
31 May 2024 13:00
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
21 Jun 2024 01:51