Professor Len Tyler

Fall 2000-2001

Date: Wednesday, October 4, 2000
Time: 4:15-5:30 PM; Refreshments at 4:00 PM
Location: 380-380Y

Radar Remote Sensing: What's next

Prof. Howard Zebker
Electrical Engineering, Stanford University


Radar technology has advanced greatly since the first spaceborne imaging radar, Seasat, was flown 1978. A series of missions by US and international agencies have progressively added new technologies and capabilities to SAR systems, so that today we can measure radar reflectivities and time delays to fine accuracy. Analysis techniques have kept pace, with increasingly sophisticated quantitative techniques permitting inference of processes such as subsurface geophysical activity, polar ice flow, and biomass distribution. Projecting these changes ahead through ongoing radar technology programs suggests cheaper, higher performance systems than are available today. They will likely include very high resolution radars, wide swath coverage through scansar, and, most importantly, low cost, enabling multi-satellite constellations. New imaging geometries will enable capture of very rapid surface processes such as lava dome growth and flow, and ocean surface currents and waves. Wide-scale analysis could lead to a better understanding of subduction at important ocean-continent and continent-continent boundaries. All of these will be supported by vastly larger and distributed data networks, with easy access and download, aiding researchers in acquisition and processing tasks. Finally, improving understanding of quantitative techniques exploiting all observables in the radar echoes will lead to comprehensive models of Earth processes by future Earth scientists.