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Synthetic Aperture Radar

The Center for Space Research is currently involved in several aspects of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery including processing, modeling, and application. The use of radar for remote sensing applications has become quite popular over the last decade. It has been used to cover topics as diverse as sea ice extent, soil moisture content, vegetation canopy morphology, ocean wave dynamics and soil erosion. High resolution, unique scattering properties and low atmospheric attenuation are a few of the reasons behind its popularity.

In many ways, the methods for remote sensing via SAR are not as intuitive as those used for the optical (visible and near infrared) portion of the spectrum. This section contains background information and several common methods of analysis for interpreting SAR data. Microwave remote-sensing systems distinguish between different subjects primarily by the differences in the signal strength received by the radar [Ulaby, Moore, and Fung 1986b]. Therefore, the received signal strength is the most important measurement made by a radar used for remote sensing. To distinguish among different targets, measurements of angle and distance to a target are made by recording the arrival times of the received signals.


Barrier Islands, Texas

  • Detecting Small-scale Topographic Changes and Relict Geomorphic Features on Barrier Islands using SAR