Airbus Defence and Space

Synthetic Aperture Radar interferometry

Interferometry can be accomplished with just one satellite or by using two satellites following each other in the same orbit

Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry is a technique that can be applied in many different areas. It involves using the radar to record two or more images of exactly the same area at different points in time. By comparing the images, it is possible to detect any changes that may have occurred during that particular period of time. Interferometry can be accomplished with just one satellite or by using two satellites following each other in the same orbit.

Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry

In combination with the European radar satellite ERS-2, this method has been used to determine the flow properties of glaciers. In 2010, scientists successfully used synthetic aperture radar interferometry to study the Larsen ice shelf in the Antarctic.

The first ever image

The first Envisat image released by ESA was an ASAR image showing the break-up of the Larsen Ice Shelf. Its disintegration had been measured using ERS data over the previous decade and was confirmed with the first wide-swath imagery collected by ASAR. Unlike earlier images of this region which had to be ‘stitched together’, this ASAR image also demonstrated the entirely new capability of the instrument with its coverage of over 400 km.

ASAR image showing the break-up of the Larsen Ice Shelf

 

This technique has also enabled scientists to take highly accurate measurements of subsidence in cities such as Venice and of the ground displacement caused by earthquakes such as those in Sichuan (China) in 2008 and L’Aquila (Italy) in 2009.

Ground displacement caused by earthquakes in L’Aquila (Italy)


SCIAMACHY MIPAS GOMOS Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar ASAR AATSR
      SCIAMACHY           MIPAS          GOMOS           ASAR           AATSR

 

Earth ObservationSatelliteEnvisat