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L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar: Current and future applications to Earth sciences

Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) is a powerful tool for imaging Earth's surface as it works day and night and regardless of the presence of clouds. SAR images taken from L-band SAR satellites complement those taken from satellites at shorter wavelengths such as C-band and X-band – L-band images have less resolution than C- and X-band images, but are more coherent over time, especially in vegetated regions. L-band data is typically easier to unwrap (higher coherence and fewer fringes), but more susceptible to effects of the ionosphere.

L-band SAR satellites include JERS-1 (1992-1998), ALOS (2006-2011), ALOS-2 (2014-present), which have recurrence time of order a few weeks.  Such recurrence times do not allow monitoring with high temporal resolution. However, after the launch of ALOS-4, NISAR, Tandem-L, and SAOCOM in the next few years, we will be able to monitor Earth's surface every few days with L-band SAR. Therefore, now is a good time to review what we have learned from previous and ongoing L-band missions (space-based and airborne) and what we expect to learn from future missions.


Edited by  Yosuke Aoki, Masato Furuya, 
Francesco De Zan, DLR, Marie-Pierre Doin, 
Michael Eineder, Masato Ohki, Mark Simons, 
Tim Wright

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    Authors: Xiaowen Wang, Yosuke Aoki and Jie Chen

    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2019 71:121

    Content type: Full paper

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    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2019 71:118

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