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Open AccessArticle

First Evaluation of Topography on GNSS-R: An Empirical Study Based on a Digital Elevation Model

Centre Tecnòlogic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC/CERCA), 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain
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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2556; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212556
Received: 16 September 2019 / Revised: 11 October 2019 / Accepted: 29 October 2019 / Published: 31 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of GNSS Reflectometry for Earth Observation)
Understanding the effects of Earth’s surface topography on Global Navigation Satellite Systems Reflectometry (GNSS-R) space-borne data is important to calibrate experimental measurements, so as to provide accurate soil moisture content (SMC) retrievals. In this study, several scientific observables obtained from delay-Doppler maps (DDMs) | Y r , t o p o ( τ , f ) | 2 generated on board the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CyGNSS) mission were evaluated as a function of several topographic parameters derived from a digital elevation model (DEM). This assessment was performed as a function of Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP)-derived SMC at grazing angles θ e ~ [20,30] ° and in a nadir-looking configuration θ e ~ [80,90] °. Global scale results showed that the width of the trailing edge (TE) was small T E ~ [100, 250] m and the reflectivity was high Γ ~ [–10, –3] dB over flat areas with low topographic heterogeneity, because of an increasing coherence of Earth-reflected Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. However, the strong impact of several topographic features over areas with rough topography provided motivation to perform a parametric analysis. A specific target area with little vegetation, low small-scale surface roughness, and a wide variety of terrains in South Asia was selected. A significant influence of several topographic parameters i.e., surface slopes and curvatures was observed. This triggered our study of the sensitivity of T E and Γ to SMC and topographic wetness index ( T W I ). Regional scale results showed that T E and Γ are strongly correlated with the T W I , while the sensitivity to SMC were almost negligible. The Pearson correlation coefficients of T E and Γ with T W I are ~ 0.59 and r T E ~−0.63 at θ e ~ [20, 30] ° and r Γ ~ 0.48 and r T E ~ −0.50 at θ e ~ [80, 90] °, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: GNSS-R; CyGNSS; SMAP; topography; digital elevation model; elevation angle; soil moisture content; topographic wetness index; bistatic scattering GNSS-R; CyGNSS; SMAP; topography; digital elevation model; elevation angle; soil moisture content; topographic wetness index; bistatic scattering
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carreno-Luengo, H.; Luzi, G.; Crosetto, M. First Evaluation of Topography on GNSS-R: An Empirical Study Based on a Digital Elevation Model. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2556.

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