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Summary of Proposal HYD1948

TitleSoil moisture effects on the complex coherence in X-band repeat-pass DInSAR data
Investigator Hajnsek, Irena - German Aerospace Center, Microwaves and Radar Institute
Team Member
Mr Zwieback, Simon - ETH Zurich, Institute of Environmental Engineering
SummaryThe influence of soil moisture variations on the SAR interferometric observables (in particular the phase has been a contested topic for decades: the size and origin of the effects are a matter of debate as dedicated quantitative studies have been far and few between. This issue is of vital importance as i) it may be a significant error source in traditional DInSAR studies focussing on deformation measurements, ii) the understanding of the scattering physics is crucial for the correct interpretation of data, and iii) soil moisture forms a vital part of land surface dynamics. The proposed study is based on the following hypothesis: there is a measurable effect of soil moisture variations on the DInSAR signal. Its objectives are three-fold: firstly, the polarimetric DInSAR data will be quantitatively analysed with proven statistical techniques as to the influence of soil moisture; secondly, a recently proposed model of this phenomenon (adaptation of the first-order scattering model, extended by the authors) will be assessed; thirdly, the possible retrieval of soil moisture from DInSAR data will be analyzed. These experiments will be applied to data from different test sites in two continents, representing different biomes and climatic zones, thus enabling us to draw conclusions based on extensive evidence. The key outcomes will be: a quantitative description of the effect of soil moisture on the X-band DInSAR signal based on empirical data alone and an assessment of the first-order scattering model to describe these effects.

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DLR 2004-2016