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The effect of topography on SAR calibration

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4 Author(s)
van Zyl, J.J. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; Chapman, B.D. ; Dubois, P. ; Jiancheng Shi

During normal synthetic aperture radar (SAR) processing, a flat Earth is assumed when performing radiometric corrections such as antenna pattern and scattering area removal. The authors examine the effects of topographic variations on these corrections. Local slopes will cause the actual scattering area to be different from that calculated using the flat Earth assumption. It is shown that this effect may easily cause calibration errors larger than a decibel. Ignoring the topography during antenna pattern removal may also introduce errors of several decibels in the case of airborne systems. The effect of topography on antenna pattern removal is expected to be negligible for spaceborne SARs. The authors show how these effects can be taken into account if a digital elevation model is available for the imaged area. The errors are quantified for two different types of terrain, a moderate relief area near Tombstone, AZ, and a high relief area near Oetztal in the Austrian Alps. The authors show errors for two well-known radar systems, the C-band ERS-1 spaceborne radar system and the three frequency NASA/JPL airborne SAR system (AIRSAR)

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:31 ,  Issue: 5 )