Holistic Radar Remote Sensing

Chair: Dr. Franz J Meyer, Associate Professor, UAF

A. Overview

We focus on the development of radar remote sensing techniques for a comprehensive analysis of the Earth's environment including the ionosphere, the troposphere, and the earth surface. To achieve this goal, we are following a unique holistic radar remote sensing concept (see Figure at right) in which signal influences of ionosphere, troposphere, and earth surface are modeled collectively and estimated simultaneously. Using this concept, we apply radar observations to monitor dynamic surface processes, to create high-resolution maps of tropospheric water vapor, and to study ionospheric key constituents. Please check the "Current Research Projects" section of our web presence for examples of currently ongoing tropospheric, ionospheric, and geophysical research work. 

Our group is embedded in the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and works in interdisciplinary projects with researchers around the world. Studtents that are interested in joining our team should apply through the student applications page of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

B. Mapping the Shape and Dynamics of the Earth

We are working on improving SAR and InSAR processing algorithms for monitoring surface deformation processes from space. Our main geophysical applications include monitoring of volcanic unrest,  mapping tectonic deformation, detecting permafrost change, as well as monitoring of glaciers and ice sheet motion. 

C. Studying Ionospheric Structure and Turbulence

Traditionally, ionospheric signals in SAR and InSAR data have either been ignored or avoided through the rejection of affected images. In recent years, our group has developed mathematical models that describe ionospheric effects in SAR and InSAR data and has used these models to both correct ionospheric noise and simultaneously map ionospheric structure and correlation properties at unprecedented spatial resolution and accuracy. Current work includes (1) the optimization of SAR-based ionospheric Total Electron Content (TEC) estimators, (2) the creation of ionospheric structure information, and (3) the prediction of ionospheric effects on future SAR missions.

D. Mapping Atmospheric Water Vapor

Atmospheric water vapor is known to cause significant distortions in interferometric SAR observations, severely limiting their applicability to many earth observation problems. Together with national and international partners, our recent research has focused on both (1) the development of effective methods for atmospheric correction, and (2) the usage of SAR and InSAR for mapping atmospheric water vapor distributions at high spatial resolution. 

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