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This paper is meant to present a statistical analysis of the role of propagation disturbances (PDs), such as those due to atmospheric disturbances or to residual platform motion, in multibaseline synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry (InSAR) and tomography (T-SAR) applications. The analysis will consider both pointlike and distributed targets in such a way as to cover all the cases that are relevant in the applications. In order to provide a tool for the evaluation of the impact of PDs on the analysis of an arbitrary scenario, a definition of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) will be introduced that accounts for both the presence of PDs and the characteristics of the imaged scene. In the case of pointlike targets, it will be shown that such definition of SNR allows reusing well known results following after the Neyman-Pearson theory, thus providing a straightforward tool to asses phase-stability requirements for the detection and localization of multiple pointlike targets. In the case of distributed targets, instead, it will be provided a detailed analysis of the random fluctuations of the reconstructed scene as a function of the extent of the PDs, of the vertical structure of the imaged scene, and of the number of looks that are employed. Results from Monte Carlo simulations will be presented that fully support the theoretical developments within this paper. The most relevant conclusion of this paper is that the impact of PDs is more severe in the case where the imaged scene is characterized by a complex vertical structure or when multiple pointlike targets are present. As a consequence, it follows that the T-SAR analyses require either a higher phase stability or a more accurate phase calibration with respect to InSAR analyses. Finally, an example of phase-stability analysis and phase calibration of a real data set will be shown, based on a P-band data set relative to the forest site of Remningstorp, Sweden.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:48 , Issue: 7 )
Date of Publication: July 2010