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Sea surface imaging with an across-track interferometric synthetic aperture radar: the SINEWAVE experiment

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4 Author(s)
Schulz-Stellenfleth, J. ; Inst. of Remote Sensing Technol., German Aerosp. Center, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany ; Horstmann, J. ; Lehner, S. ; Rosenthal, W.

An across track interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) is used to image ocean waves. Across track InSAR data were acquired during the SAR INnterferometry Experiment for validation of ocean Wave imaging models (SINEWAVE) in the North Sea using an airborne X-band radar with horizontal polarization. A wind sea system was imaged at different flight levels and with different flight directions with respect to the ocean wave propagation direction. Simultaneously, ocean wave spectra were measured by a directional wave rider buoy. Thus, the experiment data comprises synthetic aperture radar (SAR) intensity, coherence, and phase images together with in situ measurements. As shown in a recent theoretical study by Schulz-Stellenfleth and Lehner (2001), across track InSAR provides distorted (bunched) digital elevation models (DEMs) of the sea surface. Using SINEWAVE data the DEM bunching mechanism is verified with in situ ocean wave measurements available for the first time. It is shown that significant waveheight as well as one-dimensional (1D) wavenumber spectra derived from bunched DEMs and buoy data are in good agreement for small nonlinearities. Peak wave directions and peak wavelength detected in bunched DEMs and SAR intensity images are compared with the buoy spectrum. Peak rotations of up to 30° with respect to the buoy spectrum are found depending on flight direction and flight level. Two-dimensional (2D) spectra of bunched DEMs, corresponding coherency maps, and SAR intensity images are intercompared. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of bunched DEM spectra is shown to be about 5 to 10 dB higher than the SNR of SAR intensity image spectra

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 9 )