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Proceedings Paper

Determining snow depth using Ku-band interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)
Author(s): J. R. Evans; F. A. Kruse; D. L. Bickel; Ralf Dunkel
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Paper Abstract

Monitoring seasonal snow accumulation is important for evaluation of snow models, for short- and long-term snow cover monitoring, and for both military and civilian activities in cold climates. Improved spatial analysis of snow depth and volume can help decision makers plan for future events and mitigate risk. Current snow depth measurement methods fall short of operational requirements. This research explored a new approach for determining snow depth using Ku-band multi-pass (monostatic) airborne interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). A perturbation method that isolated and compared high frequency terrain phase to elevation was used to generate Snow-Off and Snow-On DEMs from the InSAR phase data. Differencing the InSAR DEMs determined elevation change caused by accumulated snow. Comparison of InSAR snow depths to manual snow depth measurements indicated average InSAR snow depth errors of -8cm, 95cm, -49cm, 176cm, 87cm, and 42cm for six SAR pairs. The source of these errors appears to be mostly related to uncorrected slope and tilt in fitted low frequency planes. Results show that this technique has promise but accuracy could be substantially improved by the use of bistatic SAR systems, which would allow for more stable and measurable interferometric baselines.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 May 2014
PDF: 16 pages
Proc. SPIE 9077, Radar Sensor Technology XVIII, 90770V (29 May 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2049711
Show Author Affiliations
J. R. Evans, Naval Postgraduate School (United States)
F. A. Kruse, Naval Postgraduate School (United States)
D. L. Bickel, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
Ralf Dunkel, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9077:
Radar Sensor Technology XVIII
Kenneth I. Ranney; Armin Doerry, Editor(s)

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