Skip to Main Content
Spaceborne interferometric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) (InSAR) imaging has been used for over a decade to monitor tectonic movements and landslides, as well as to improve digital elevation models. However, InSAR is affected by variations in round-trip propagation delay due to changes in ionospheric total electron content and in tropospheric humidity and temperature along the signal path. One of the largest sources of uncertainty in estimates of tropospheric path delay is the spatial and temporal variability of water vapor density, which currently limits the quality of InSAR products. This problem can be partially addressed by using a number of SAR interferograms from subsequent satellite overpasses to reduce the degradation in the images or by analyzing a long time series of interferometric phases from permanent scatterers. However, if there is a sudden deformation of the Earth's surface, the detection of which is one of the principal objectives of InSAR measurements over land, the effect of water vapor variations cannot be removed, reducing the quality of the interferometric products. In those cases, high-resolution information on the atmospheric water vapor content and its variation with time can be crucial to mitigate the effect of wet-tropospheric path delay variations. This paper describes the use of a ground-based microwave radiometer network to retrieve 3-D water vapor density with fine spatial and temporal resolution, which can be used to reduce InSAR ambiguities due to changes in wet-tropospheric path delay. Retrieval results and comparisons between the integrated water vapor measured by the radiometer network and satellite data are presented.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:49 , Issue: 9 )
Date of Publication: Sept. 2011