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Satellite remote sensing of Spratly Islands using SAR

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Spratly Islands, located in the southern part of the South China Sea (SCS), consist of more than 100 small islands, coral reefs and banks. Remote sensing is the only way to obtain a synoptic view of all of the islands in such a large area. It has been demonstrated that satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery is a very powerful tool for monitoring meso-scale and small-scale ocean processes in a large area. In this study, satellite SAR images were used to study the ocean environment in the area of Spratly Islands. The aim was to understand the capability of satellite remote sensing to monitor ocean processes and provide information for future field studies. Two sets of high-resolution European Remote Sensing satellite (ERS)-2 SAR images over the entire Spratly Islands area were collected in April and December 2005. The ocean features were identified/extracted from the SAR images to overlay the bathymetric map for comparison. Some case studies of SAR mapping on Spratly Islands are described and issues regarding existing navigation charts are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Technology and Science Institute of Northern Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan 2: Ocean Sciences Branch, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, MD 3: Department of Oceanic Architecture and Engineering, Nihon University, Chiba, Japan

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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