First Airswot Interferometric Radar Water Surface Elevations and Flooded Inundation Extent from the Sacramento River and Edwards AFB Wetland Complex, California

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Lincoln H Pitcher1, Laurence C Smith1, Colin J Gleason1, Oliwia N Baney1, Vena W Chu1, Mia M Bennett1, Tamlin Pavelsky2 and Gregory A. Sadowy3, (1)University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, United States, (2)University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, United States, (3)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States
NASA’s forthcoming Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite mission aims to quantify global freshwater fluxes from space using Ka-band interferometric radar. AirSWOT is the airborne calibration/validation instrument for SWOT with first-pass data collected over the Sacramento River in May 2013 and a wetland complex on Edwards AFB (Piute Ponds) in May 2014. Here, AirSWOT elevation and coherence data are compared with high resolution airborne imagery and concurrent in-situ field mappings of inundation area and water surface elevation. For the Sacramento River, AirSWOT water surface elevations are compared with field-surveyed elevations collected using a high precision GPS Lagrangian river drifter escorted down 30 km of river length. Additionally, field mapped river shorelines are compared with shorelines extracted from AirSWOT coherence data. For the Piute Ponds, we use an exhaustive field mapping of inundation extent and flooded vegetation to assess the ability of AirSWOT coherence and backscatter to map shorelines in a complex lake and wetland environment containing varying vegetation and soil moisture conditions.