Sea-Ice Detection from RADARSAT Images by Gamma-based Bilateral Filtering
Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is commonly considered a powerful sensor to detect sea ice. Unfortunately, the sea-ice types in SAR images are difficult to be interpreted due to speckle noise. SAR image denoising therefore becomes a critical step of SAR sea-ice image processing and analysis. In this study, a two-phase approach is designed and implemented for SAR sea-ice image segmentation. In the first phase, a Gamma-based bilateral filter is introduced and applied for SAR image denoising in the local domain. It not only perfectly inherits the conventional bilateral filter with the capacity of smoothing SAR sea-ice imagery while preserving edges, but also enhances it based on the homogeneity in local areas and Gamma distribution of speckle noise. The Gamma-based bilateral filter outperforms other widely used filters, such as Frost filter and the conventional bilateral filter. In the second phase, the K-means clustering algorithm, whose initial centroids are optimized, is adopted in order to obtain better segmentation results. The proposed approach is tested using both simulated and real SAR images, compared with several existing algorithms including K-means, K-means based on the Frost filtered images, and K-means based on the conventional bilateral filtered images. The F1 scores of the simulated results demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed approach whose overall accuracies maintain higher than 90% as variances of noise range from 0.1 to 0.5. For the real SAR images, the proposed approach outperforms others with average overall accuracy of 95%.