Estimating high resolution atmospheric phase screens from differential InSAR measurements
Atmospheric artifacts superimposed on interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) measurements have the potential to greatly impede the accurate estimation of deformation signals. The research presented in this dissertation demonstrates a novel InSAR time series algorithm, called HiRAPS algorithm, for effectively estimating high resolution atmospheric phase screens (APS) from differential InSAR measurements. In summary, the HiRAPS algorithm utilizes short time span differential interferograms and rearranges components of existing advanced InSAR techniques to identify a higher density of scatterers used to create the APS. The improved scatterer density allows one to estimate high spatial frequency atmospheric signals not recovered from existing InSAR time series techniques. The HiRAPS algorithm was tested with simulated and actual data, which contain phase contributions from linear and nonlinear deformation, topographic height errors, and atmospheric artifacts. Simulated differential interferograms were generated to have the same spatial and temporal baselines as the actual differential interferograms formed from RADARSAT-1 data over Phoenix, Arizona. The APS superimposed on simulated differential interferograms were then estimated and compared to simulated APS. The root mean square error (RMSE) between the estimated and simulated APS was calculated to qualitatively assess the different values obtained. The RMSE was 0.26 radians when utilizing the HiRAPS algorithm, compared to an RMSE value of 0.39 radians using an implementation of the permanent scatterer (PS) algorithm. The HiRAPS algorithm also showed its applicability for estimating high spatial frequency atmospheric signals for actual data. Sixty-six SAR images, starting from October 5, 2002 and spanning 5 years, were processed for this research. The APS pixel density obtained using the HiRAPS algorithm was 253 pixels per square kilometer, compared to 14 pixels per square kilometer utilizing the PS algorithm. The APS superimposed on the differential interferograms were estimated with both the proposed and PS algorithms. High resolution APS were estimated with the HiRAPS algorithm, whereas only low resolution APS were obtained with the PS algorithm. After estimating and removing estimated APS, the phase stability of APS-free differential interferograms was examined by identifying the permanent scatterers (PS). The final density of identified PS obtained with the HiRAPS algorithm was 453 PS per square kilometer, whereas the density of detected PS using the generic PS algorithm was 381 PS per square kilometer. The maximum difference in the deformation time series between the HiRAPS algorithm and the PS algorithm was less than 6 mm. However, the HiRAPS algorithm resulted in less apparent noise in the time series than the PS algorithm due to the precise estimation of APS.