Information on rice phenological stages from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)images is of prime interest for in-season monitoring. Often, prior in-situ measurements of phenology are not available. In such situations, unsupervised clustering of SAR images might help in discriminating phenological stages of a crop throughout its growing period. Among the existing unsupervised clustering techniques using full-polarimetric (FP) SAR images, the eigenvalue-eigenvector based roll-invariant scattering-type parameter, and the scattering entropy parameter are widely used in the literature. In this study, we utilize a unique target scattering-type parameter, which jointly uses the Barakat degree of polarization and the elements of the polarimetric coherency matrix. In particular, the degree of polarization attributes to scattering randomness from a target. The scattering randomness in crops increases with advancements in its growth stages due to the development of branches and foliage. Hence, the degree of polarization varies with changes in the crop growth stages. Besides, the elements of the coherency matrices are directly related to the crop geometry as well as soil and crop water content. There-fore, this complementarity information captures the scattering randomness at each crop growth stage while taking into account diverse crop morphological characteristics. Likewise, we also utilize an equivalent parameter proposed for compact-polarimetric (CP) SAR data. These scattering-type parameters are analogous to the Cloude-Pottier’s parameter for FP SAR data and the ellipticity parameter for CP SAR data. Besides this, we also introduce new clustering schemes for both FP and CP SAR data for segmenting diverse scattering mechanisms across the phenological stages of rice. In this study, we use the RADARSAT-2 FP and simulated CP SAR data acquired over the Indian test site of Vijayawada under the Joint Experiment for Crop Assessment and Monitoring (JECAM) initiative. The temporal analysis of the scattering-type parameters and the new clustering schemes help us to investigate detailed scattering characteristics from rice across its phenological stages.
(Submitted to ISPRS journal)