Mapping water bodies with a high accuracy is necessary for water resource assessment, and mapping them rapidly is necessary for flood monitoring. Poyang Lake is the largest freshwater lake in China, and its wetland is one of the most important in the world. Poyang Lake is affected by floods from the Yangtze River basin every year, and the fluctuation of the water area and water level directly or indirectly affects the ecological environment of Poyang Lake. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is particularly suitable for large-scale water body mapping, as SAR allows data acquisition regardless of illumination and weather conditions. The two-satellite Sentinel-1 constellation, providing C-Band SAR data, passes over the Poyang Lake about five times a month. With its high temporal-spatial resolution, the Sentinel-1 SAR data can be used to accurately monitor the water body. After acquiring all the Sentinel-1 (1A and 1B) SAR data, to ensure the consistency of data processing, we propose the use of a Python and SeNtinel Application Platform (SNAP)-based engine (SARProcMod) to process the data and construct a Poyang Lake Sentinel-1 SAR dataset with a 10 m resolution. To extract water body information from Sentinel-1 SAR data, we propose an automatic classification engine based on a modified U-Net convolutional neural network (WaterUNet), which classifies all data using artificial sample datasets with a high validation accuracy. The results show that the maximum and minimum water areas in our study area were 2714.08 km2 on 20 July 2020, and 634.44 km2 on 4 January 2020. Compared to the water level data from the Poyang gauging station, the water area was highly correlated with the water level, with the correlation coefficient being up to 0.92 and the R2 from quadratic polynomial fitting up to 0.88; thus, the resulting relationship results can be used to estimate the water area or water level of Poyang Lake. According to the results, we can conclude that Sentinel-1 SAR and WaterUNet are very suitable for water body monitoring as well as emergency flood mapping.

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