High Resolution Satellite Multi-Temporal Interferometry for Landslide and Subsidence Hazard Assessment: An Overview

Monday, 15 December 2014: 4:15 PM
Janusz Wasowski1, Fabio Bovenga2, Davide Oscar Nitti3, Raffaele Nutricato3 and Mariateresa Chiaradia4, (1)National Research Council - CNR, IRPI, Bari, Italy, (2)National Research Council - CNR, ISSIA, Bari, Italy, (3)GAP srl, Bari, Italy, (4)Politecnico di Bari, Dipartimento Interateneo di Fisica, Bari, Italy
The new and planned satellite missions can not only provide global capacity for research-oriented and practical applications such as mapping, characterizing and monitoring of areas affected by slope and subsidence hazards, but also offer a possibility to push the research frontier and prompt innovative detailed-scale studies on ground movement dynamics and processes. Among a number of emerging space-based remote sensing techniques, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), multi-temporal interferometry (MTI) seems the most promising for important innovation in landslide and subsidence hazards assessment and monitoring. MTI is appealing to those concerned with terrain instability hazards because it can provide very precise information on slow displacements of the ground surface over vast areas with limited vegetation cover. Although MTI techniques are considered to have already reached the operational level, it is apparent that in both research and practice we are at present only beginning to benefit from the high-resolution imagery that is currently acquired by the new generation radar satellites (e.g. COSMO-SkyMed, TerraSAR-X). In this overview we illustrate the great potential of high resolution MTI and explain what this technique can deliver in terms of detection and monitoring of slope and subsidence hazards. This is done by considering different areas characterized by a wide range of geomorphic, climatic and vegetation conditions, and presenting selected case study examples of local to regional scale MTI applications from Europe, China and Haiti. We envision that the current approach to assessment of hazard can be transformed by capitalizing more on the presently underexploited advantage of the MTI technique, i.e. the capability to provide regularly spatially-dense quantitative information for large areas currently unaffected by instabilities, but where the terrain geomorphology and geology may indicate potential for future ground failures.