This publication was prepared by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. It contains material from contributors in United States government agencies, agencies of other governments, universities, and private industry.
Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement by the United States Government, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.
ERS-1 data have been provided courtesy of the European Space Agency.
In addition to our many contributors, the Discipline Panel Chairmen and I wish to thank the dedicated team at JPL who were instrumental in producing this document.
Diane Evans, Editor
Discipline Panel Chairmen
Eric Kasischke, ERIM/Duke University
John Melack, University of California, Santa Barbara
Jeff Dozier, University of California, Santa Barbara
Jakob van Zyl, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Marine Science and Applications
John Apel, Applied Physics Laboratory
Frank Carsey, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Ice Sheets and Glaciers
Robert Bindschadler, Goddard Space Flight Center
Ken Jezek, Ohio State University
Solid Earth Science
Ray Arvidson, Washington University
Bernard Minster, University of California, San Diego
Pete Mouginis-Mark, University of Hawaii
Fuk Li, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Merle Skolnik, Naval Research Laboratory
Robert Winokur, NOAA/NESDIS
In June 1994 NASA's Office of Mission to Planet Earth (OMTPE) identified the need for a broadly scoped review of the nation's civilian spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) program, and requested the Committee on Earth Studies (CES) of the Space Studies Board (SSB) of the National Research Council (NRC) to undertake such a review. The Board was charged with answering the following questions:
(1) Is multiparameter SAR the optimum spaceborne approach to characterize the critical geophysical parameters identified by the interdisciplinary Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C, X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) Earth science team, and if not, are the data products nevertheless of credible utility in Earth science? For example:
* How well can SAR be used to estimate biomass, characterize vegetation type, characterize forest stand maturity, clear-cut, or regrowth?
* How well can SAR be used to characterize snow-water equivalent, distinguish between new and refrozen ice, or estimate ice volume?
* How well can SAR characterize oceanographic features and parameters such as internal waves, oil slicks, wave direction, and air-sea interaction?
* How well can SAR characterize soil moisture?
* How well can SAR characterize geologic features such as rock type/composition, and surface texture?
(2) With respect to all of the above questions, how important are the multiple wavelength, multi-polarizing, variable-incidence angle capabilities to these characterizations?
(3) What is the potential of spaceborne radar interferometry in topographic mapping and surface change monitoring connected with natural hazards?
(4) What is the complementary nature of a spaceborne radar interferometry project to monitoring crustal strain and deploying dense arrays of Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers in selected areas of seismic hazard?
(5) What are the priorities in SAR technology development which are critical not only to NASA's maintaining leadership in spaceborne SAR technology, but to providing societally relevant geophysical parameters?
(6) What is the priority of SAR science in the context of the overall national and international Earth observing areas?
(7) With the answers to these questions as backdrop, how might the international space program community make the best use of its resources while satisfying individual programmatic requirements through joint planning and cooperation in future SAR flight projects?
(8) What would an appropriate role be for NASA in such an international SAR program? For example:
* What would an appropriate role be for the NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) in such a program?
* How could the SIR-C/X-SAR or the EOS SAR Science Team expertise be used?
This report was prepared as background material through a series of discipline-oriented workshops held throughout the fall of 1994. Science Discipline Panel workshops and meetings, held in Late October and early November focused on Questions 1-4. The Technology Panel addressed Question 5 during two separate meetings on November 15 and 29. An Interagency panel formed to help address Questions 6-8 will report separately. The Chairmen of the Discipline Panels met on December 5, 1994 to discuss the report format and their key findings. Because of the broad interest in this subject, attempts have been made to solicit input and comments on this material from as broad a community as time allowed, including the international community. However, this should only be considered a "snap-shot" of a rapidly evolving field, as new results are reported on a continuing basis.
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