Topography-correlated atmospheric signal mitigation for InSAR applications in the Tibetan plateau based on global atmospheric models

Yuqing Wang, Ling Chang, Wanpeng Feng*, Sergey Samsonov, Wenjun Zheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
147 Downloads (Pure)


Atmospheric heterogeneity mainly exposes itself as tropospheric-phase delay in Satellite Interferometric Synthetic Aperture radar (InSAR) observations, which smears or even overshadows the deformation component of InSAR measurements. In this study, we estimated the performance of four Global Atmospheric Models (GAMs), i.e. European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Reanalysis v5 (ERA5), ERA-Interim (ERA-I), Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications v2 (MERRA2) and Generic Atmospheric Correction Online Service for InSAR (GACOS), for tropospheric-phase delay reduction in InSAR applications in the Tibetan plateau, of which ERA5 is the latest GAM released by ECMWF. We demonstrated the effectiveness of Atmospheric Phase Screen (APS) correction using the four GAMs for more than 700 Sentinel-1 Terrain Observation by Progressive Scans interferograms covering two study areas in the southern (R1) and northwest margins (R2) of the Tibetan plateau. Topography-correlated signals have been widely observed in these interferograms, which are most likely due to the APS effects. We calculated the Standard Deviations (SD) and Pearson’s Correlation Coefficients (r) between InSAR Line of Sight measurements and topography before and after applying APS correction. The results show that the SDs of non-deformation areas from the GAMs decrease to approximately 4 mm from around 10 mm and 12 mm originally on average for R1 and R2, respectively, and the r after the APS correction are reduced below 0.4 from around 0.8 for the selected interferometric pairs. In addition, as the newly released GAM, ERA5 has similar performance with GACOS products and outperforms other models generally. This suggests that GAMs, particularly ERA5, have great potential in the APS correction for InSAR applications in the Tibetan plateau.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4364-4382
Number of pages19
JournalInternational journal of remote sensing
Issue number11
Early online date9 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2021




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