InSAR elevation bias caused by penetration into uniform volumes

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Natural media like cold-land ice, vegetation, and dry sand are subject to a substantial penetration at microwave frequencies. For such media, the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) ase center is located below the surface, and consequently, the surface elevation determined with SAR interferometry (InSAR) biased downward. For infinitely deep uniform volumes, the elevation bias is often equated with the penetration depth, but this paper, it is shown that the two quantities generally differ. The interferometric bias is approximately equal to the two-way power-penetration depth if the latter is small compared to the ambiguity height, but for increasing penetration depth, the bias approaches one quarter of the ambiguity height. Consequently, phase wrapping results even if the penetration depth exceeds ambiguity height. The ratio of the InSAR elevation bias to ambiguity height depends only on the ratio of the penetration pth to the ambiguity height, and the bias can be expressed in terms of the InSAR coherence magnitude, which makes it possible correct the InSAR surface elevation for the bias. The volume pth can be considered infinite if it exceeds the penetration depth a factor of two to five and if the surface scattering from the top and the bottom of the volume is negligible.
Original languageEnglish
JournalI E E E Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)2319-2324
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Bibliographical note

Copyright: 2007 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE


  • volume scattering
  • penetration
  • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
  • interferometry
  • elevation bias

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