Temporal stability of X-band single-pass InSAR heights in a spruce forest: Effects of acquisition properties and season

Solberg, Svein
Weydahl, Dan Johan
Astrup, Rasmus Andreas
Syntetisk apertur-radar (SAR)
Solberg, Svein; Weydahl, Dan Johan; Astrup, Rasmus Andreas. Temporal stability of X-band single-pass InSAR heights in a spruce forest: Effects of acquisition properties and season. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 2014 ;Volum 53.(3) s. 1607-1614
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We investigated the stability of TanDEM-X interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) heights across eight repeated acquisitions. With InSAR height we mean the height above ground of the scattering phase center. We obtained InSAR heights by subtracting a digital terrain model generated from airborne laser scanning. The acquisitions varied in polarization, normal baseline, and season. The study area was a spruce forest in southeastern Norway. We established 179 field plots within 26 selected forest stands and obtained aboveground biomass (AGB) from field inventory. The InSAR heights were generally stable across the acquisitions as was the relationship between AGB and InSAR height, although systematic and random variations were noted. Two acquisitions had close-to-identical technical properties and weather conditions, and they produced close-to-identical InSAR heights. InSAR heights were fairly stable across a range in temperature and precipitation through spring, summer, and autumn, across a range in baseline values and for both HH and VV polarizations. However, a winter acquisition at temperatures of -7°C had much deeper penetration into the canopy and generated considerably lower InSAR heights and, hence, a very different relationship with biomass. Higher random errors were noted in a cross-pol data set due to lower backscatter and when the normal baseline was very small or very large. A height of ambiguity around 20-50 m appeared to be optimal. Interferometric X-band SAR can be used for monitoring coniferous boreal forests as long as the season and technical properties of the acquisition are kept within certain ranges.
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