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Application of TerraSAR-X for oceanography

Susanne Lehner(1), Johannes Schulz-Stellenfleth(1) and Brusch Stephan(1)

(1) DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Wessling, Germany


TerraSAR-X is a new german X-band radar satellite launched on June 15, 2007. In this mission an operational spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system with very high spatial resolution will be set up producing remote sensing products for commercial and scientific use. TerraSAR-X is a scientific and technological continuation of the successful Space Shuttle missions SIR-C/X and SRTM.

The spacecraft is equipped with a phased array X-band SAR, which can operate in different polarisations and has furthermore beam stearing capabilities. In addition the system has a split antenna mode, which is able to provide along track interferometric information. The instrument is designed for multiple imaging modes like Stripmap, Spotlight and ScanSAR.

Due to its polarimetric and interferometric capabilities as well as the high spatial resolution of up to 1 m, the TerraSAR-X sensor is a very interesting tool for oceanography. The presentation will give an overview of several applications, which are of both scientific and commercial interest, like e.g. current and ocean wave measurement s, monitoring of morphodynamical processes or high resolution wind field retrieval. The potential as well as limitations of the instrument will be summarized and compared to other sensors.

Necessary steps to translate existing C-band SAR inversion algorithms for wind and wave measurements to X-band will be discussed. A strategy will be outlined to achieve this by a combination of theoretical investigations and the use of existing experimental data acquired by both airborne and groundbased X-band radar. First results on the adaption of existing C-band wind retrieval algorithms will be presented. This will in particular include comparisons with in situ measurements taken at the FINO I platform in the North Sea. First wind and ocean wave parameter retrievals based on TerraSAR-X data will be presented, e.g., using data acquired over the English channel.


Workshop presentation

Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry