InSAR Remote Sensing of Localized Surface Layer Subsidence in New Orleans, LA
Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
More than half of Louisiana’s drinking water is dependent on groundwater, and extraction of these resources along with high oil and gas production has contributed to localized subsidence in many parts of New Orleans. This increases the vulnerability of levee failure during intense storms such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, before which rapid subsidence had already been identified and contributed to the failing levees and catastrophic flooding. An interferogram containing airborne radar data from NASA’s UAVSAR was combined with local geographic information systems (GIS) data for 2009-12 to help identify the sources of subsidence and mask out unrelated features such as surface water. We have observed the highest vertical velocity rates at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility (high water use) and Norco (high oil/gas production). Many other notable features such as the: Bonnet-Carre Spillway, MRGO canal, levee lines along the Lower 9th Ward and power plants, are also showing concerning rates of subsidence. Even new housing loads, soil type differences, and buried beach sands seem to have modest correlations with patterns seen in UAVSAR. Current hurricane protection and coastal restoration efforts still have not incorporated late 20th century water level and geodetic data into their projections. Using SAR interferometry and local GIS datasets, areas of subsidence can be identified in a more efficient and economical manner, especially for emergency response.