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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Importance of Calibration for Improving the Efficiency of Data Assimilation for Predicting Forest Characteristics

Lindgren, Nils; Nystrom, Kenneth; Saarela, Svetlana; Olsson, Hakan; Stahl, Goran;

Abstract

Data assimilation (DA) is often used for merging observations to improve the predictions of the current and future states of characteristics of interest. In forest inventory, DA has so far found limited use, although dense time series of remotely sensed (RS) data have become available for estimating forest characteristics. A problem in forest inventory applications based on RS data is that errors from subsequent predictions tend to be strongly correlated, which limits the efficiency of DA. One reason for such a correlation is that model-based predictions, using techniques such as parametric or non-parametric regression, are normally biased conditional on the actual ground conditions, although they are unbiased conditional on the RS predictor variables. A typical case is that predictions are shifted towards the mean, i.e., small true values are overestimated, and large true values are underestimated. In this study, we evaluated if the classical calibration of RS-based predictions could remove this type of bias and improve DA results. Through a simulation study, we mimicked growing stock volume predictions from two different sensors: one from a metric strongly correlated with growing stock volume, mimicking airborne laser scanning, and one from a metric slightly less correlated with growing stock volume, mimicking data obtained from 3D digital photogrammetry. Consistent with previous findings, in areas such as chemistry, we found that classical calibration made the predictions approximately unbiased. Further, in most cases, calibration improved the DA results, evaluated in terms of the root mean square error of predicted volumes, evaluated at the end of a series of ten RS-based predictions.

Keywords

classical calibration; data assimilation; forest inventory; remote sensing

Published in

Remote Sensing

2022, volume: 14, number: 18, article number: 4627
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Lindgren, Nils
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Saarela, Svetlana
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science
Remote Sensing

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14184627

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/119190