A generic approach to parameterize the turbulent energy of single-epoch atmospheric delays from InSAR time-series

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The observed phase in time series of interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) products is a superposition of various components. Differential topography, line-of-sight displacements, and differential atmospheric delays are the main contributions and need to be disentangled to derive accurate digital elevation model (DEM), deformation, or atmospherical products from InSAR. However, isolating the atmospheric component has been proven difficult as it is spatiotemporally highly dynamic and a superposition of two atmospheric states. Here, we propose an approach to parameterize the stochastic properties of the single-epoch atmospheric delay field as a way to define the atmospheric signal. We found that the atmospheric signal of a time series of interferograms can be characterized by structure functions, which can be used to isolate the single-epoch structure functions. Due to the scaling properties of the atmospheric signal, it is then possible to construct a parametric function per SAR acquisition, using two isotropic and three anisotropic parameters. In particular, the isotropic parameters for the short-distance variation and long-distance variation in atmospheric delay can be used to characterize the atmospheric signal. For a test set of 151 Sentinel-1 acquisitions, this results in an atmospheric energy range of about 10 for short-distance scales and about 50 for long-distance scales. Our parameterization demonstrates that we can describe the spatiotemporal variability of InSAR atmospheric delays, which provides a measure for atmospheric noise for individual epochs in deformation time series based on distance and azimuth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5212413
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Atmospheric measurements
  • Atmospheric modeling
  • Deformation
  • Delays
  • InSAR
  • Liquids
  • Meteorology
  • Periodic structures
  • tropospheric delay
  • tropospheric scaling
  • turbulence


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