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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 193237, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/193237
Research Article

Mapping Agricultural Frozen Soil on the Watershed Scale Using Remote Sensing Data

1Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique—Eau, Terre et Environnement (INRS-ETE), 490 rue de la Couronne, QC, Canada G1K 9A9
2Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Soils and Crops Research and Development Centre, 2560 Hochelaga Boulevard, QC, Canada G1V 2J3

Received 6 December 2010; Revised 21 February 2011; Accepted 20 March 2011

Academic Editor: Mehrez Zribi

Copyright © 2011 Jalal Khaldoune et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This paper presents an empirical model for classifying frozen/unfrozen soils in the entire Bras d’Henri River watershed (167 km2) near Quebec City (Quebec, Canada). It was developed to produce frozen soil maps under snow cover using RADARSAT-1 fine mode images and in situ data during three winters. Twelve RADARSAT-1 images were analyzed from fall 2003 to spring 2006 to discern the intra- and interannual variability of frozen soil characteristics. Regression models were developed for each soil group (parent material-drainage-soil type) and land cover to establish a threshold for frozen soil from the backscattering coefficients (HH polarization). Tilled fields showed higher backscattering signal (+3 dB) than the untilled fields. The overall classification accuracy was 87% for frozen soils and 94% for unfrozen soils. With respect to land use, that is, tilled versus untilled fields, an overall accuracy of 89% was obtained for the tilled fields and 92% for the untilled fields. Results show that this new mapping approach using RADARSAT-1 images can provide estimates of surface soil status (frozen/unfrozen) at the watershed scale in agricultural areas.