Radar Interferometry

We can also use JERS-1 radar images to study the topography and changes in the landscape that are due to the eruption of new lava flows at Kilauea volcano. To do this, we need a pair of radar images taken from almost exactly (within ~800 meters) of each other. The phase characteristics of the radar signals are then compared and an interference pattern produced.

By comparing two radar images, we can study the topography of the Big Island. We can also look for areas where the radar phase information has been entirely destroyed - this is where new lava flows have changed the surface from one set of observations to the next.

Over the coming months, we plan to use a lot more radar images of the Big Island that we will collect with the University of Hawaii's ground station. These data will come from both the European ERS-2 radar, and the Japanese JERS-1 system. These are very different radar systems due to the wavelength, the angle at which the radar energy hits the surface, and the time it takes for the satellite to come back to the same point in space a second time. Click here if you would like to see what the resultant images from these two radar systems are like, and how they compare to the Space Shuttle SIR-C images and a Canadian RADARSAT scene.

See also the TOPSAR data for Hawaii. They too have been collected using radar interferometry.

Author: Peter Mouginis-Mark
Copyright by P. Mouginis-Mark
Curator: Lori Glaze
Copyright © 1996
All Rights Reserved.