C-band radar observes water level change in swamp forests

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Abstract

C-band radar pulses backscatter from the upper canopy of swamp forests, and consequently interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) analysis of C-band imagery has not been exploited to study water level changes in swamp forests. This article explores C-band ERS-1 (European Remote Sensing Satellite) and ERS-2 InSAR data over swamp forests composed of moderately dense trees with a medium-low canopy closure in southeastern Louisiana to measure water level changes beneath tree cover.

Wetlands cover more than 4% of the Earth's land surface and interact with hydrologic, biogeochemical, and sediment transport processes that are fundamental in understanding ecological and climatic changes [Alsdorf et al, 2003; Prigent et al., 2001 ; Melack and Forsberg, 2000; Dunne et al., 1998]. Measurement of water level changes in wetlands, and consequently of changes in water storage capacity, provides a required input for hydrologic models, and is required to comprehensively assess flood hazards [e.g., Coe, 1998].

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