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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(6), 638; doi:10.3390/rs9060638

The Application of ALOS/PALSAR InSAR to Measure Subsurface Penetration Depths in Deserts

1
Imaging Group, Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL), Department of Space & Climate Physics, University College London, Holmbury St Mary, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6NT, UK
2
Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, New Territories, Hong Kong, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Richard Gloaguen
Received: 14 April 2017 / Revised: 9 June 2017 / Accepted: 16 June 2017 / Published: 21 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology)
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Abstract

Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) interferometry has been utilised to acquire high-resolution Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) with wide coverage, particularly for persistently cloud-covered regions where stereophotogrammetry is hard to apply. Since the discovery of sand buried drainage systems by the Shuttle Imaging Radar-A (SIR-A) L-band mission in 1982, radar images have been exploited to map subsurface features beneath a sandy cover of extremely low loss and low bulk humidity in some hyper-arid regions such as from the Japanese Earth Resources Satellite 1 (JERS-1) and Advanced Land Observing Satellite/Phased Array type L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (ALOS/PALSAR). Therefore, we hypothesise that a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) derived by InSAR in hyper-arid regions is likely to represent a subsurface elevation model, especially for lower frequency radar systems, such as the L-band system (1.25 GHz). In this paper, we compare the surface appearance of radar images (L-band and C-band) with that of optical images to demonstrate their different abilities to show subsurface features. Moreover, we present an application of L-band InSAR to measure penetration depths in the eastern Sahara Desert. We demonstrate how the retrieved L-band InSAR DEM appears to be of a consistently 1–2 m lower elevation than the C-band Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) DEM over sandy covered areas, which indicates the occurrence of penetration and confirms previous studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: subsurface mapping; hyper-arid regions; InSAR; radar backscatter; ALOS/PALSAR subsurface mapping; hyper-arid regions; InSAR; radar backscatter; ALOS/PALSAR
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Xiong, S.; Muller, J.-P.; Li, G. The Application of ALOS/PALSAR InSAR to Measure Subsurface Penetration Depths in Deserts. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 638.

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