10 Great Ways to Use SAR Data
1. Sea Ice
- The Polar Oceans are unique among the world's oceans. In addition to the
climatic roles of the polar oceans and their ice covers, sea ice is also of interest
because ice can act as a roadblock, impeding ship traffic across otherwise highly
advantageous marine trade routes. SAR imagery can help ships find the thinner ice to navigate through and avoid thick ice.
2. Polar Oceans
- The high-latitude oceans are biologically the most active regions of
the world oceans. SAR images show features of the ocean processes that are important for fisheries and biological productivity.
3. Open Oceans
- Surface waves of open oceans are widely studied with SAR. Useful
products from SAR for identifying ocean circulation features include the location
of current boundaries, mesoscale eddies and temperature fronts.
- Most data related to glaciology involves mapping and monitoring of features
and glacial dynamics from sequential imagery. Products that can be derived by
accurate mapping include the areal boundary of glaciers and ice sheets, the location
of many surface features including crevasses, flow lines, moraines, ice streams,
and ice rises, as well as the detection, size, density, and rate of production of
- SAR image data for geological studies can be used to make maps of gelogic structural
features, lithologic units, surface morphology (shape), coastal changes, volcano
distributions and morphology, and surficial processes. These maps provide
information on coastal erosion and accretion as well as on the tectonic and
volcanic history of Alaska, for example, including the characteristics of active volcanoes.
- For hydrology studies, SAR can be used to study the flux and storage of
water, including snow. One product is soil moisture content, which includes mapping
the unfrozen and frozen surface condition of permafrost in Alaska as well as the areas
of wet and dry soil.
- For ecosystem studies, SAR can be used to examine both forest and low-vegetation canopy
characteristics and soil moisture. Maps of the canopy geometry, extent, and
above-ground biomass using both SAR data alone and SAR data combined with data
from optical sensors can be made.
- Large, explosive eruptions of volcanoes affect the Earth's radiation balance
and hence, its climate. SAR can provide the shape of a volcano plus the different forms and ages fo lava flows.
- The global forests are storehouses of carbon in both standing and dead
biomass, and they are also critical elements for the hydrological cycle. SAR
can be used to determine if forests are frozen or thawed, and how photosynthetically active they are.
10. Remote Sensing Science
- The research activities performed for remote sensing science have provided and
will continue to provide the scientific and technical information needed for proper
interpretation of remotely acquired optical and microwave data. These activites include sensor
design and calibration, field and laboratory measurements, and data analysis and
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