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For spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems operating at L-band frequencies or lower, the ionosphere may have a significant impact on the SAR images. The largest effect at L-band is caused by Faraday rotation (FR). Several studies have modeled the effect of FR and/or devised models to measure and correct FR. With the launch of the fully polarimetric L-band system Phased Array-type L-band SAR (PALSAR), it has become possible to test both models and measurement techniques on real SAR data. In this letter, the quality of calibrated polarimetric PALSAR data is assessed, and FR is measured. It is found that residual crosstalk and channel imbalance are small in the PALSAR data. Two methods are used to measure FR, the first using in-scene distributed targets and the second using large trihedrals. The two methods show very good agreement. The measurements are compared with values of the total electron content using a linear model. It is found that the model and measurements are in good agreement, with a root-mean-square error of 0.3deg or 15% of the mean FR angle.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2009