Development of an Advanced Technique to Correct Along-Track InSAR-Derived Surface Current Fields for Contributions of Wave Motions

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Conor Smith1, Roland Romeiser1, Ad Reniers2 and Jamie MacMahan3, (1)University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States, (2)Delft University of Technology, Hydrolic Engineering, Delft, Netherlands, (3)Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, United States
The feasibility of surface current measurements by airborne and spaceborne along-track interferometric synthetic aperture radar (along-track InSAR) has been demonstrated on a number of occasions. Since the Doppler shifts detected by the radar include contributions of surface wave motions, a correction for these contributions has to be applied, which is often estimated as a mean correction for the entire current field on the basis of a simple theoretical model. In coastal areas and river estuaries with complex current and wave patterns, this approach is not adequate because one has to account for spatial variations in the wave field and in the corresponding corrections for the current field, which can be on the same order of magnitude as the actual surface currents of interest. Here we test the ability of a numerical near-shore hindcast model (Delft3D) to produce a wave field to be used for more appropriate computations of corrections for the along-track InSAR data. Our study was conducted at the mouth of the Columbia River on the West Coast of the U.S. during the spring of 2013. Over the course of the experiment, seven TerraSAR-X along-track InSAR images were acquired as well as a variety of in-situ data sets, such as trajectories of GPS-equipped Lagrangian drifters and velocity profiles from acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCP). We use the in-situ data to validate our Delft3D model results, and we try to relate spatially varying differences between the measured and simulated surface currents and the TerraSAR-X derived Doppler velocities to the wave spectra obtained from Delft3D and to wave patterns observed in the SAR images. The long-term objective of this work is to derive the wave information and the corresponding velocity corrections from signatures contained in the along-track InSAR data set itself, such that a completely self-consistent correction of along-track InSAR-derived surface current fields for the contributions of spatially varying wave motions becomes possible. The resulting high-resolution surface current fields will be very valuable for applications such as bathymetry and river runoff monitoring.