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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, Marie-Pierre Doin, 
Michael Eineder, Masato Ohki, Mark Simons, 
Tim Wright

  1. This study monitors the land subsidence of the whole Pearl River Delta (PRD) (area: ~ 40,000 km2) in China using the ALOS1/PALSAR data (2006–2011) through the SBAS-InSAR method. We also analyze the relationship b...

    Authors: Genger Li, Guangcai Feng, Zhiqiang Xiong, Qi Liu, Rongan Xie, Xiaoling Zhu, Shuran Luo and Yanan Du
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2020 72:179
  2. We present detailed maps of local-scale 3D deformation preceding the 2018 phreatic eruption at Iwo-yama volcano (south of Kyushu Island, Japan), using a combination of airborne and spaceborne Interferometric S...

    Authors: Shohei Narita, Taku Ozawa, Yosuke Aoki, Masanobu Shimada, Masato Furuya, Youichiro Takada and Makoto Murakami
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2020 72:145
  3. The 2016 Kumamoto earthquake sequence on April 14 (Mw 6.2) and April 16 (Mw 7.0) altered the regional groundwater level. To better understand the relationship between groundwater level change and surface displace...

    Authors: Kazuya Ishitsuka, Takeshi Tsuji, Weiren Lin, Makoto Kagabu and Jun Shimada
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2020 72:144
  4. Recent increases in global temperature have stimulated permafrost degradation associated with landform deformation caused by the melting of excess ground ice (thermokarst). Central Yakutia is underlain by ice-...

    Authors: Takahiro Abe, Go Iwahana, Petr V. Efremov, Alexey R. Desyatkin, Takumi Kawamura, Alexander Fedorov, Yuri Zhegusov, Kazuki Yanagiya and Takeo Tadono
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2020 72:138
  5. We applied differential InSAR analysis to the Shiretoko Peninsula, northeastern Hokkaido, Japan. All the interferograms of long temporal baseline (~ 3 years) processed from SAR data of three L-band satellites ...

    Authors: Youichiro Takada and George Motono
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2020 72:131
  6. Interferograms pertaining to large earthquakes typically reveal the occurrence of elastic deformations caused by the earthquake along with several complex surface displacements. In this study, we identified di...

    Authors: Satoshi Fujiwara, Takayuki Nakano and Yu Morishita
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2020 72:119
  7. The cloud-free, wide-swath, day-and-night observation capability of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) has an important role in rapid landslide monitoring to reduce economic and human losses. Although interferomet...

    Authors: Masato Ohki, Takahiro Abe, Takeo Tadono and Masanobu Shimada
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2020 72:67
  8. Determining the fault parameters of an earthquake is fundamental for studying the earthquake physics, understanding the seismotectonics of the region, and forecasting future earthquake activities in the surrou...

    Authors: Nematollah Ghayournajarkar and Yo Fukushima
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2020 72:64
  9. Asama volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Japan. Spatially dense surface deformation at Asama volcano has rarely been documented because of its high topography and snow cover around the summit. This...

    Authors: Xiaowen Wang, Yosuke Aoki and Jie Chen
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2019 71:121
  10. Active faults commonly repeat cycles of sudden rupture and subsequent silence of hundreds to tens of thousands of years, but some parts of mature faults exhibit continuous creep accompanied by many small earth...

    Authors: Yo Fukushima, Manabu Hashimoto, Masatoshi Miyazawa, Naoki Uchida and Taka’aki Taira
    Citation: Earth, Planets and Space 2019 71:118

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