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ID.59332: Geophysical and atmospheric retrieval from SAR data stacks over natural scenarios



The aim of this project consists in the development and application of processing methodologies to address two specific Sub-topics relevant for stack-based spaceborne applications. Sub-topic 1 concerns the internal structure of natural media, and it is mapped to Dragon topic Solid Earth – Subsurface target detection. Sub-topic 2 concerns joint estimation of deformation and water vapour maps, and it is mapped to Dragon topic Solid Earth – Monitoring of surface deformation of large landslides. The topics above are of fundamental importance in the context of present and future spaceborne missions, which will allow increasingly more systematic use of multiple acquisitions thanks to improved hardware stability and orbital control. Indeed, the proposed activities are intended to support use of multi-pass data stacks from:o the upcoming P-Band mission BIOMASS. o future L-Band missions, such as the SAOCOM constellation, the upcoming Chinese L-Band bistatic Mission Lu-Tan1, and potentially Tandem-L and Rose-L.o the C-Band Sentinel Missions.Sub-topic 1 will consider as test sites a forested area in North-West Germany and a desert area in Namibia, which are under study in the context of the ESA campaigns TomoSense and DesertSAR. The activities will focus on processing SAR image stacks to extract information about forest structure and sub-surface terrain topography on forested areas, and about the internal structure of sand dunes and surface topography on desert areas. Estimation and compensation of ionospheric and tropospheric propagation effects will be considered as well. Given the availability of a large amount of reference data at both sites, the success of this study will be assessed by direct validation against reference data from in-situ measurements and products from airborne Tomography. During the first years of this study, the activities will proceed based on stacks of ALOS SAR images, which are currently available as archive products.Sub-topic 2 will consider two test sites: Kenya, of interest for retrieval of water-vapor and deformation over large scale, and Xilodou dam, characterized by on-going deformation, and at the same time, very humid and heavily vegetated conditions and rugged terrain. The objective is two-fold. For the generation of tropospheric products, for meteorological application, the synergic exploitation of distributed and permanent scatterers, is still an open issue, where the retrieval of absolute phase screen needs merging with GNSS and meteorological maps (ERA5, GACOS), where timeliness and efficiency is a must. The integration of DS and PS will in parallel by tested on difficult sites with fast and high resolution deformations in Xilodou.DeliverablesD1: Dragon symposium 2021: attendance and presentationsD2: Dragon symposium 2022: attendance, presentations, and journal papersD3: Dragon symposium 2023: attendance and presentationsD4: Dragon symposium 2024: attendance, presentations, and journal papersFundingThe activities are planned to start with two European Young Scientists from Politecnico di Milano:o Ing. Marco Manzoni, currently pursuing his PhD at PoliMi under ministerial funding granted until end of 2021. o Dr. Mauro Mariotti dÔÇÖAlessandro, working in the SAR group at PoliMi as Post-Doc research fellow under internal funding granted until end of 2021.A YS from University of Pisa, Dr. Claudia Zoppetti, Post-Doc collaborator under funding granted until January 2021, is also availableIt is important to note that the duration of the Dragon programme is significantly longer than the average time a University is able to grant funding for young researchers (PhD are given within a 3 year programme, research funding are typically granted on yearly basis). If the project is granted, future PhD students and Research Fellows from both PoliMi and University of Pisa will be involved in the proposed Dragon project in the next years.


PI Europe
Prof.. Stefano Tebaldini, Politecnico di Milano, ITALY
PI China
Prof.. Mingsheng Liao, LIESMARS, Wuhan University, CHINA