The utility of atmospheric analyses for the mitigation of artifacts in InSAR



[1] The numerical weather models (NWMs) developed by the meteorological community are able to provide accurate analyses of the current state of the atmosphere in addition to the predictions of the future state. To date, most attempts to apply the NWMs to estimate the refractivity of the atmosphere at the time of satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data acquisitions have relied on predictive models. We test the hypothesis that performing a final assimilative routine, ingesting all available meteorological observations for the times of SAR acquisitions, and generating customized analyses of the atmosphere at those times will better mitigate atmospheric artifacts in differential interferograms. We find that, for our study area around Mount St. Helens (Amboy, Washington, USA), this approach is unable to model the refractive changes and provides no mean benefit for interferogram analysis. The performance is improved slightly by ingesting atmospheric delay estimates derived from the limited local GPS network; however, the addition of water vapor products from the GOES satellites reduces the quality of the corrections. We interpret our results to indicate that, even with this advanced approach, NWMs are not a reliable mitigation technique for regions such as Mount St. Helens with highly variable moisture fields and complex topography and atmospheric dynamics. It is possible, however, that the addition of more spatially dense meteorological data to constrain the analyses might significantly improve the performance of weather modeling of atmospheric artifacts in satellite radar interferograms.