EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Diurnal and seasonal behavior observed by C-band radar measurements at high temporal frequencies over an olive orchard in a Mediterranean region

Adnane Chakir1, Pierre-Louis Frison2, Said Khabba1,3, Ludovic Villard4, Nadia Ouaadi4, Mehrez Zribi4, Valerie Le-dantec4, Jamal Ezzahar3,6, Salah Erraki3,5, and Lionel Jarlan
Adnane Chakir et al.
  • 1LMFE, Faculty of sciences Samlaliya, Cadi Ayyad university , Morocco
  • 2LaSTIG, UPEM / IGN, Champs sur Marne, Paris, France
  • 3CRSA, Centre for Remote Sensing Applications, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), Ben Guerir, Morocco
  • 4CESBIO, University of Toulouse, IRD/CNRS/UPS/CNES, Toulouse, France.
  • 5ProcEDE, Faculty of Sciences and Technologies, Cadi Ayyad university , Morocco
  • 6MISCOM, National School of Applied Sciences, Cadi Ayyad University, Safi, Morocco

This work deals with crop monitoring in a semi-arid environment, the Mediterranean region, where up to 80-90% of already over-exploited water resources are used for irrigation. To help sustainable use of water resources in agriculture, more efforts have to be made to water use through a better assessment of crop water stress, evapotranspiration, and soil moisture at the plot scale on large areas.

This study is focused on the diurnal and seasonal variation of the backscatter coefficient and the interferometric coherence over an olive orchard, located in the Chichaoua region (central Morocco), that has an area of 2.4ha, irrigated by drip system, with olives trees of 20-years-old. The study site was equipped, since May-2019, with a radar device consisting of 7 C-band horn-antennas at the top of a 20m-high-tower, that collects measurements at 4-polarizations allowing radar acquisitions in high temporal frequency with a timestep of 15min.  An Eddy-covariance system has been also installed for measuring energy balance and the physiological functioning of olives trees with sapflow and dendrometer sensors on olives trunks. The study site is visible at the intersection of three different sentinel-1 orbit passes allowing to have six acquisitions every 10days to compare them with in-situ radar measurements at different incidence angles.

Both the backscattering coefficient s0  and the interferometric coherences are analyzed. At a seasonal scale, all s0  polarizations show a low temporal frequency profile with amplitude lower than 3dB. For VV-polarization, in 2021, it is quite constant, with a slight decrease of 1 dB during the summer, while for 2020, an increase of 2dB is observed at the end of the spring. At HV-polarization no particular seasonal behavior can be seen. On the contrary, a marked diurnal profile is observed at VV-polarization, which is closely correlated with plant activity, with daily amplitude varying between 3dB in winter to 5dB in summer. The diurnal s0  signature is low during night, increases from 6AM, reaches its maximum during 2 to 6PM, and then decreases to recover its low value around midnight.

Concerning the interferometric coherence r, similar behavior to the one observed over tropical forest is noted. The r daily evolution shows a clear diurnal cycle, with amplitude varying between 0.3 in winter to 0.7 in summer. During this latter, r is high (~0.9) at night when the wind and vegetation activity are low, and begins to decrease at 7AM, with vegetation activity start, before the wind picks up at 8AM, reaching minimum value at 7PM (~0,4). It then follows a rapid increase to reach its maximum value (0.9) at midnight. A high sensitivity to rainy events is also noted, corresponding to very low r values. It is worth noticing than r estimated between measurements separated by 6 days, show similar diurnal profiles, with r lower amplitude (0.2 to 0.4), suggesting it can be characterized by Sentinel-1 morning and evening observations. Additional work as to be carried on to relate this radar diurnal cycle to water cycle, that would be good omen to monitor water stress from spaceborne C-band radar sensors.

How to cite: Chakir, A., Frison, P.-L., Khabba, S., Villard, L., Ouaadi, N., Zribi, M., Le-dantec, V., Ezzahar, J., Erraki, S., and Jarlan, L.: Diurnal and seasonal behavior observed by C-band radar measurements at high temporal frequencies over an olive orchard in a Mediterranean region, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4151,, 2022.