Differential Tropospheric Delay Estimation by Simultaneous Multi-Angle Repeat-Pass InSAR

Yuanhao Li, Paco Lopez Dekker, Gert Mulder, Lorenzo Iannini, Pau Prats-Iraola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Tropospheric delays are one of the main contributors to the interferometric phase in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry. When the phase contributions from surface deformation, topography, and ionospheric delays are negligible or known, the interferogram can be used to estimate the differential tropospheric delay (DTD), which can help to improve tropospheric delay predictions from weather models and in situ measurements. In conventional repeat-pass interferometric SAR (InSAR), however, the estimation of the DTD can still be significantly hindered by baseline errors. In addition, a single interferogram provides only relative DTDs, as the delays can be retrieved up to an unknown offset. To address such issues, this article presents a method for the estimation of DTDs on large scales by using repeat-pass simultaneous multi-angle SAR systems. Complementary simultaneous observations of the correlated troposphere from multiple angles are used to retrieve estimates of the absolute DTD and, at the same time, to mitigate the effect of baseline knowledge errors. Finally, a performance evaluation is presented for the Harmony Earth Explorer 10 candidate mission. A centimeter-level absolute accuracy and a submillimeter-level relative accuracy of the DTD estimation are achieved under the multistatic Harmony case when at least one companion satellite has an inter-satellite distance longer than 300 km to provide enough sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Atmospheric modeling
  • Delays
  • Estimation
  • Interferometric phase error
  • interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)
  • multi-angle observation system
  • Satellites
  • Strain
  • Synthetic aperture radar
  • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
  • Terrestrial atmosphere
  • troposphere.


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