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Estimation bias of ocean current measured by along-track interferometric synthetic aperture radar and its compensation methods

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In previous works on current measured by along-track interferometric synthetic aperture radar (ATISAR), the decorrelation function of an ocean-surface backscattering signal was usually assumed to be a real Gaussian function, i.e. the phase term was omitted. In this study, it is proved that the omission of the phase term included in the decorrelation function results in a significant estimation bias that can be modelled by a higher-order function of time lag and that the coefficients of this higher-order function can be expressed as a series of higher-order Doppler spectral moments. This model is validated by the scatterometer data obtained from an experimental wind-wave tank. The estimation bias especially needs to be considered for the ATISAR system with a long time lag. Simulation results show that if the time lag is equal to the coherence time, the estimation bias of the current can reach about 0.2┬ám s−1, which is not insignificant in high-precision current-retrieving applications. However, because most real-life ATISAR systems, including TerraSAR-X, operate with time lags significantly shorter than the expected coherence time, the estimation biases in these systems are relatively small or even negligible. Finally, four possible compensation methods for the estimation bias are proposed and discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Science and Technology on Microwave Imaging Laboratory, Institute of Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, China

Publication date: June 18, 2014

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