Covariance estimation for dInSAR surface deformation measurements in the presence of anisotropic atmospheric noise

Steffen H G Knospe, Sigurjon Jonsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We study anisotropic spatial autocorrelation in differential synthetic aperture radar interferometric (dInSAR) measurements and its impact on geophysical parameter estimations. The dInSAR phase acquired by the satellite sensor is a superposition of different contributions, and when studying geophysical processes, we are usually only interested in the surface deformation part of the signal. Therefore, to obtain high-quality results, we would like to characterize and/or remove other phase components. A stochastic model has been found to be appropriate to describe atmospheric phase delay in dInSAR images. However, these phase delays are usually modeled as being isotropic, which is a simplification, because InSAR images often show directional atmospheric anomalies. Here, we analyze anisotropic structures and show validation results using both real and simulated data. We calculate experimental semivariograms of the dInSAR phase in several European Remote Sensing satellite-1/2 tandem interferograms. Based on the theory of random functions (RFs), we then fit anisotropic variogram models in the spatial domain, employing Matérn-and Bessel-family correlation functions in nested models to represent complex dInSAR covariance structures. The presented covariance function types, in the statistical framework of stationary RFs, are consistent with tropospheric delay models. We find that by using anisotropic data covariance information to weight dInSAR measurements, we can significantly improve both the precision and accuracy of geophysical parameter estimations. Furthermore, the improvement is dependent on how similar the deformation pattern is to the dominant structure of the anisotropic atmospheric signals. © 2009 IEEE.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2057-2065
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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