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Prediction, Detection, and Correction of Faraday Rotation in Full-Polarimetric L-Band SAR Data

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2 Author(s)
Franz J. Meyer ; Alaska Satellite Facility, Alaska Fairbanks Univ., Fairbanks, AK ; Jeremy B. Nicoll

With the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensor PALSAR onboard the Advanced Land Observing Satellite, a new full-polarimetric spaceborne L-band SAR instrument has been launched into orbit. At L-band, Faraday rotation (FR) can reach significant values, degrading the quality of the received SAR data. One-way rotations exceeding 25 deg are likely to happen during the lifetime of PALSAR, which will significantly reduce the accuracy of geophysical parameter recovery if uncorrected. Therefore, the estimation and correction of FR effects is a prerequisite for data quality and continuity. In this paper, methods for estimating FR are presented and analyzed. The first unambiguous detection of FR in SAR data is presented. A set of real data examples indicates the quality and sensitivity of FR estimation from PALSAR data, allowing the measurement of FR with high precision in areas where such measurements were previously inaccessible. In examples, we present the detection of kilometer-scale ionospheric disturbances, a spatial scale that is not detectable by ground-based GPS measurements. An FR prediction method is presented and validated. Approaches to correct for the estimated FR effects are applied, and their effectiveness is tested on real data.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 10 )