X-band sea surface coherence time inferred from bistatic SAR interferometry

Steffen Suchandt, Roland Romeiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Coherence time plays an important role in ocean surface observation by means of synthetic aperture radar (SAR). For X-band, the autocorrelation function (ACF) of the backscatter from the sea surface has been predicted using models. Up to now there exist only few experimental data and an empirical analysis of the sea surface coherence time based on a larger amount of data is missing. In this paper, we show how space-based bistatic SAR along-track interferometry is used for the first time to measure the ACF. We achieve this by statistical analysis of the interferometric scene coherence as a function of the along-track interferometric time lag, instead of indirect estimation from the Doppler bandwidth. We use many data acquisitions of opportunity for that purpose, thereby exploiting the diversity of along-track baselines between the two SAR sensors of the TanDEM-X satellite formation. The ACF is related to the temporal decorrelation, which is not directly observable. We extract this component by quantifying and compensating for all other sources of decorrelation that contribute to the observed coherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7906478
Pages (from-to)3941-3948
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Bistatic synthetic aperture radar (SAR) along-track interferometry
  • Sea surface coherence time
  • TanDEM-X
  • X-band

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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