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Summary of Proposal LAN0411

TitleSurvey of landslide activity, rockglaciers movement and surface glaciers velocity in the Swiss Alps
Investigator Strozzi, Tazio - Gamma Remote Sensing, N/A
Team Member
Dr. Werner, Charles - Gamma Remote Sensing, -
Dr. Wegmüller, Urs - Gamma Remote Sensing, -
Dr. Wiesmann, Andreas - Gamma Remote Sensing, -
Dr. Santoro, Maurizio - Gamma Remote Sensing, -
Dr. Reynald, Delaloye - University of Fribourg, Department of Geosciences - Geography
Dr. Raetzo, Hugo - Federal Office for Environment, Eidgenössisches Departement für Umwelt, Verkehr, Energie und Kommunikation
SummaryOur project aims at the mapping of landslides activity, rockglaciers movement and surface glaciers velocity in the Oberwallis region in the Swiss Alps using TERRASAR-X stripmap mode interferometric data (single polarization, 3m resolution, 30 km swath width, 11 day acquisition time interval). By considering differential SAR interferometry, persistent scattering interferometry (IPTA) and SAR offset-tracking potential and limitations of TerraSAR X for ground motion monitoring will be assessed in an alpine environment. Specific objectives of the proposed activity include: - an initial assessment of TerraSAR-X data acquired with 11 day time interval for conventional differential interferometric analysis (InSAR) aimed at the mapping of rockglaciers movement and fast moving landslides in high alpine (i.e. very sparse vegetated) areas; - a further assessment of winter TerraSAR-X data acquired with 11 day time interval for the estimation of glacier surface velocity using offset-tracking techniques; - a final assessment of persistent scattering interferometry for the survey of landslide activity. Results will be integrated by UNIFR into the FOEN user practices. UNIFR already compiled a survey of displacement in the Oberwallis region using ERS, JERS, ENVISAT and ALOS SAR data (Reynald Delaloye, Eric Perruchoud, Christophe Lambiel, Ralph Lugon, InSAR Haut-Valais: Inventaire des mouvements de terrain par analyse de signaux d’interférométrie radar satellitaire (période 1993-2000), Rapport final, Mandant: Canton du Valais, 2008). Therefore, the evaluation of potential and limitations of TerraSAR-X data for the proposed applications will include a comparison with ERS, ENVISAT and ALOS PALSAR data. The expected impacts of the project, to be finalized with the preparation of application demonstration examples and the publication of results, include the demonstration and assessment of TerraSAR-X data for ground surface motion in alpine areas.
Final ReportOur project aimed at the mapping of landslides activity, rockglaciers movement and surface glacier velocity in the Swiss Alps using TERRASAR-X stripmap mode interferometric data. TerraSAR-X interferograms acquired during the summer were employed, together with ERS-1/2, JERS, ENVISAT, ALOS, Cosmo-Skymed and Radarsat-2 data, to compile a regional inventory of unstable slopes. TerraSAR-X data acquired every 11 days have the potential to disclose seasonal variations of the displacement. Also the mapping of relatively small instabilities, such as rockglaciers, strongly benefits from the higher spatial resolution of the TerraSAR-X data in comparison to the C- and L-band sensors used in the past. The TerraSAR-X data were further used to estimate the ice surface velocity of large glaciers. Offset-tracking with very-high resolution SAR data performs well during the whole year for acquisition time intervals from 11 days to a few months. Taking benefit from the synergy with the EU FP7 project DORIS persistent scatterer interferometry with TerraSAR-X data was studied for the survey of landslide activity in one of our study site. The analysis demonstrated the superior performance of TerraSAR-X in terms of point density as well as maximum detectable velocity in comparison to ERS and ENVISAT. Operational use of TerraSAR-X for the survey of terrain instabilities in the Swiss Alps is now continuing on a commercial base.

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