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Summary of Proposal LAN1331

TitleRemote Unmanned Site Monitoring for Soil Instability and Permafrost Degradation
Investigator Power, Desmond - C-CORE, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Team Member
Ms. Carter, Susan - C-CORE, C-CORE
SummaryThis project focuses on the use of TerraSAR-X to monitor remote unmanned sites for soil instability and permafrost degradation. C-CORE has several clients with a large number of remote unmanned sites that pose challenges for ongoing monitoring. These sites are northern and remote with little transportation infrastructure. The sites contain infrastructure that requires ongoing monitoring, particularly for soil instability and permafrost degradation. The degradation of permafrost and/or erosion as a result of environmental conditions impacts the stability of northern facilities and infrastructure. Natural phenomena including permafrost disturbance, water run-off, snow melt, flooding, etc. are factors that contribute to instability. Minimizing response time to this type of change is vital. These factors vary by site. Coastal erosion and embankment failures need to be monitored to determine if any structures are susceptible to collapse into the ocean. The time and expense of getting to these sites points to the use of a technology based solution like InSAR to remotely monitor the site infrastructure. C-CORE has several candidates remote sites that it would like to use for this purpose. In particular, C-CORE proposes to monitor the sites over a three to four month period using high revisit TerraSAR-X (imagery acquisitions every 11 days) using Spotlight mode. As these sites are in remote isolated locations in Canada and the US, it is not expected to cause any capacity issues on TerraSAR-X. In addition to using high revisit Spotlight data from TerraSAR-X, it is proposed that the SBAS InSAR technique be applied to mitigate temporal decorrelation effects. In a previous ESA study (DUE Innovator Permafrost), C-CORE showed that the application of traditional InSAR for remote sites (with sparse infrastructure) is challenging due to temporal decorrelation, particularly when the sites were susceptible to permafrost degradation. Often, corner reflectors have to be installed. It is therefore proposed that a stack of data be acquired on these sites (up to 20 each) and that the InSAR SBAS technique be used to mitigate temporal decorrelation. It has been shown that the SBAS technique can overcome issues of temporal by tracking regions as opposed to individual point targets (as in the case of the persistent scatterer technique). The application of InSAR SBAS will contribute significantly to the TerraSAR-X mission by demonstrating if SBAS can be applied to monitor remote unmanned infrastructure. This would allow monitoring to take place while reducing the expense of performing costly site inspections.

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