Sentinel-1 Interferometric SAR Mapping of Precipitable Water Vapor Over a Country-Spanning Area

Mateus P, Catal„o J, Nico G
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, VOL. 55, NO. 5, MAY 2017

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This paper presents a methodology to generate maps of atmosphere's precipitable water vapor (PWV) over large areas with a length of hundreds of kilometers and a width of about 250 km, based on the use of interferometric Sentinel-1A/B C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data with a high spatial resolution of 5 ◊ 20 m 2 and the revisiting time of six days. An algorithm to calibrate and merge PWV maps from different swaths of Sentinel-1 acquired along the same track, using global navigation satellite system (GNSS) measurements, is described. The proposed methodology is tested on Sentinel-1A SAR images acquired over the Iberian Peninsula, along both descending and ascending tracks. The assessment with an independent set of GNSS measurements shows a mean difference of a fraction of millimeter and a dispersion lower than 2 mm. Both the use of Sentinel-1A/B SAR images and the proposed methodology open new perspectives on the application of SAR meteorology for the high-resolution mapping of PWV over large region-spanning areas and the assimilation of interferometric SAR data into numerical weather models.