Coastal Monitoring Using L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Image Data - Some Case Studies in Asian Delta Areas

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Akiko Tanaka, Geological Survey of Japan, AIST, Tsukuba, Japan
Coastal geomorphology is highly variable as it is affected by sea-level changes and other naturally- and human-induced fluctuations. To effectively assess and monitor geomorphological changes in various time scales is thus critical for coastal management. Asian mega deltas are vulnerable to a sea-level rise due to its low-lying delta plain, and are dynamic region given a large amount of sediment supply. However, limited data availability and accessibility in the deltas have prevented establishment of systematic coastal monitoring. A variety of remote sensing systems can be used to monitor geomorphological changes in coastal areas as it has wide spatial coverage and high temporal repeatability. Especially, analysis using SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) data not affected by the cloud conditions offer potential for monitoring in the monsoon Asia region.

We will present some case studies of Asian coastal regions using L-band SAR data, ALOS (Advanced Land Observing Satellite) PALSAR (Phased Array type L-band SAR) and JERS-1 (Japanese Earth Resource Satellite-1) SAR data. One example is that time-series of radar amplitude images can be used to delineate changes quantitatively of the areal extent of river-mouth bars in distributaries of the Mekong River delta. It shows that the estimated areas of river mouthbars gradually increase on an annual time scale, and seasonal variations of areas were also recognized. Another example is that differential SAR interferometry is applied to the coast of the Yellow River delta in China. It shows very high subsidence rates, likely due to groundwater pumping. A further example is that we apply a SAR interferometry time series analysis to monitor ground deformations in the lower Chao Phraya delta plain, Thailand. A single reference time series interferogram from the stacking of unwrapped phases were applied. The subsidence and uplift pattern observed using the SAR interferometry time series analysis highlights the spatial complexity. Longer-term continuous monitoring with future SAR missions, such as ALOS-2, will provide us with more opportunities for new insights into coastal monitoring.