CENTIMETER COSMO-SKYMED RANGE MEASUREMENTS FOR MONITORING GROUND DISPLACEMENTS
Keywords: COSMO-SkyMed, SAR amplitude, monitoring, stereo-SAR, geophysical effects correction
Abstract. The SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) imagery are widely used in order to monitor displacements impacting the Earth surface and infrastructures. The main remote sensing technique to extract sub-centimeter information from SAR imagery is the Differential SAR Interferometry (DInSAR), based on the phase information only. However, it is well known that DInSAR technique may suffer for lack of coherence among the considered stack of images. New Earth observation SAR satellite sensors, as COSMO-SkyMed, TerraSAR-X, and the coming PAZ, can acquire imagery with high amplitude resolutions too, up to few decimeters. Thanks to this feature, and to the on board dual frequency GPS receivers, allowing orbits determination with an accuracy at few centimetres level, the it was proven by different groups that TerraSAR-X imagery offer the capability to achieve, in a global reference frame, 3D positioning accuracies in the decimeter range and even better just exploiting the slant-range measurements coming from the amplitude information, provided proper corrections of all the involved geophysical phenomena are carefully applied. The core of this work is to test this methodology on COSMO-SkyMed data acquired over the Corvara area (Bolzano – Northern Italy), where, currently, a landslide with relevant yearly displacements, up to decimeters, is monitored, using GPS survey and DInSAR technique. The leading idea is to measure the distance between the satellite and a well identifiable natural or artificial Persistent Scatterer (PS), taking in account the signal propagation delays through the troposphere and ionosphere and filtering out the known geophysical effects that induce periodic and secular ground displacements. The preliminary results here presented and discussed indicate that COSMO-SkyMed Himage imagery appear able to guarantee a displacements monitoring with an accuracy of few centimetres using only the amplitude data, provided few (at least one) stable PS’s are available around the monitored area, in order to correct residual biases, likely due to orbit errors.