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Using a Ground-Based SAR Interferometer and a Terrestrial Laser Scanner to Monitor a Snow-Covered Slope: Results From an Experimental Data Collection in Tyrol (Austria)

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9 Author(s)
Luzi, G. ; Dept. of Earth Sci., Univ. of Florence, Florence ; Noferini, L. ; Mecatti, D. ; Macaluso, G.
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In this paper, we report on an experimental activity aimed at investigating the potential of two terrestrial remote-sensing techniques, namely, ground-based SAR (GB SAR) interferometry and terrestrial laser scanning, in order to retrieve snow-depth (SD) measurements in mountainous regions. Terrestrial laser scanning is a more consolidated technique based on the measurement of the optical (near infrared) reflectivity, and it is affected by the surface of the snow layer: a temporal data sequence allows us to estimate the absolute SD variation. Recent use of SAR interferometry to evaluate snow-mass characteristics is based on relating the measured interferometric phase shift to a change in the snow mass. Interferometric GB SAR measurements and terrestrial laser scanner scans were collected together with pointwise conventional measurements of physical snow parameters during the winters of 2005/2006 and 2006/2007. The experiment was carried out in the Wattener Lizum, a high Alpine area at about 2000-m elevation north of the main ridge of the Austrian Alps in Tyrol. Notwithstanding the difficulty of providing both lengthy data record in dry snow conditions and detailed knowledge of the observed snow characteristics, the obtained results confirmed the presence of a clearly measurable interferometric phase variation in relation to the growing height of the snow layer. A comparison of the SD maps obtained through the two techniques shows differences partly due to the different nature of the two observations.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:47 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Feb. 2009

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