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Correcting atmospheric effects on InSAR with MERIS water vapour data and elevation-dependent interpolation model

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SUMMARY

The propagation delay when radar signals travel from the troposphere has been one of the major limitations for the applications of high precision repeat-pass Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR). In this paper, we first present an elevation-dependent atmospheric correction model for Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR—the instrument aboard the ENVISAT satellite) interferograms with Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) integrated water vapour (IWV) data. Then, using four ASAR interferometric pairs over Southern California as examples, we conduct the atmospheric correction experiments with cloud-free MERIS IWV data. The results show that after the correction the rms differences between InSAR and GPS have reduced by 69.6 per cent, 29 per cent, 31.8 per cent and 23.3 per cent, respectively for the four selected interferograms, with an average improvement of 38.4 per cent. Most importantly, after the correction, six distinct deformation areas have been identified, that is, Long Beach–Santa Ana Basin, Pomona–Ontario, San Bernardino and Elsinore basin, with the deformation velocities along the radar line-of-sight (LOS) direction ranging from −20 mm yr−1 to −30 mm yr−1 and on average around −25 mm yr−1, and Santa Fe Springs and Wilmington, with a slightly low deformation rate of about −10 mm yr−1 along LOS. Finally, through the method of stacking, we generate a mean deformation velocity map of Los Angeles over a period of 5 yr. The deformation is quite consistent with the historical deformation of the area. Thus, using the cloud-free MERIS IWV data correcting synchronized ASAR interferograms can significantly reduce the atmospheric effects in the interferograms and further better capture the ground deformation and other geophysical signals.

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