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InSAR for estimation of changes in snow water equivalent of dry snow

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4 Author(s)
T. Guneriussen ; NORUT IT Ltd., Tromso, Norway ; K. A. Hogda ; H. Johnsen ; I. Lauknes

This paper describes the theoretical relation between interferometric phase and changes in snow water equivalent (SWE) and show results from experiments using ERS-½ tandem data. The main scattering contribution from a dry snow cover is from the snow-ground interface. However, the radar wave will be refracted in the snow. Thus, only small changes in the snow properties between two interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images will change the interferometric phase. This phase change is shown to introduce a significantly increase in the digital elevation model (DEM) height error, although no effects are observed on the degree of coherence. The phase change is also shown to affect the differential interferometric results and may wrongly be interpreted as range displacement. The presented theory and results implies that light snowfall and/or small changes in snow properties between interferometric SAR (InSAR) image acquisitions, may introduce significant height errors in DEM derived from glaciers, ice sheets, or bare ground, even in the case of high degree of coherence. Thus, meteorological observations in addition to degree of coherence must be considered when generating DEM in areas covered with snow or where snow fall is likely to have occurred

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 10 )