Near nadir Ka-band sar interferometry: SWOT airborne experiment

Abstract

To better prepare data processing system of the Ka-band Radar Interferometer (KaRIn) for the Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) [1] mission, we opportunistically collected data over several diverse fresh-water targets in the Van Hook Arm areas of North Dakota, USA, using a Ka-band interferometric radar [2] developed at JPL. To make the collection relevant to SWOT, the aircraft was rolled to direct the antenna boresight toward nadir to mimic the SWOT geometry. Using a modified airborne interferometric SAR processor [3] developed at JPL, we were able to process the collected Ka-band airborne data and produced the height and magnitude image products. These results are the first of the kind for Ka-band interferometric synthethic aperture radar over water surfaces with near nadir looking geometry. These initial results will help to characterize the power returns from water surface and land, and provide guidance for the design of post-processing algorithms including methods for water and land classification. The height accuracy we get from the water surface height images can be used to project the water surface height accuracy we would get from SWOT mission. This airborne experiment will help us verify the SWOT data processing chain and make us better prepared for SWOT data processing task.

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