Special Section on Remote Sensing of the Wenchuan Earthquake

Analysis of synthetic aperture radar image characteristics for seismic disasters in the Wenchuan earthquake

[+] Author Affiliations
Zhen Li, Quan Chen, Jianmin Zhou, Bangsen Tian

Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, Beijing 100190 China

J. Appl. Remote Sens. 3(1), 031685 (May 26, 2009). doi:10.1117/1.3153906
History: Received November 1, 2008; Revised April 8, 2009; Accepted April 30, 2009; May 26, 2009; June 16, 2009; Online May 26, 2009
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Abstract

More than 69,000 people died following the magnitude 8.0 Wenchuan earthquake of May 12, 2008. Bad weather hampered relief efforts, and in some cases rescuers had to trek into the disaster area on foot and search for trapped survivors by hand as roads were blocked by debris. Due to travel difficulties, spatial information needs to be extracted in the disaster area by remote sensing techniques. The main problem focused on in this paper is how to use the all-weather and all-day/night capability of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to extract primary seismic disaster information after the earthquake. Using air- and space-borne SAR images with different bands, polarizations and incidence angles, including multi-polarization X-band air-borne data, C-band polarimetric Radarsat-2, X-band TerraSAR-X with high resolution, multi-polarization X-band COSMO-SkyMed and L-band multi-polarization ALOS-PalSAR space-borne data, we perform image characteristics analysis of landslides. Obvious differences can be recognized between old and new landsides in SAR images with different bands. Multi-polarization SAR can play an important role in landslide discrimination. Two SAR images at different incidence angles do not provide much more information if the difference between the two angles is small. Landslide recognition accuracy strongly depends on the direction of view, especially for large incidence angles, in which case the characteristic difference for landslide recognition is great. There are different polarization responses between a landslide and its surroundings that can be used to recognize the landslide. Interferometric SAR images, on the other hand, do not provide good recognition capability due to temporal decorrelation and resolution. Meanwhile, information extraction of barrier lakes using different resolution and incidence angle SAR images is analyzed in this paper; small incidence angles and high resolutions improve the object recognition and information extraction of barrier lakes.

© 2009 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Zhen Li ; Quan Chen ; Jianmin Zhou and Bangsen Tian
"Analysis of synthetic aperture radar image characteristics for seismic disasters in the Wenchuan earthquake", J. Appl. Remote Sens. 3(1), 031685 (May 26, 2009). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3153906


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