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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(11), 1169; doi:10.3390/rs9111169

Ionospheric Reconstructions Using Faraday Rotation in Spaceborne Polarimetric SAR Data

1
Qian Xuesen Laboratory of Space Technology, China Academy of Space Technology, Beijing 100094, China
2
National Key Laboratory of Electromagnetic Environment, China Research Institute of Radiowave Propagation, Qingdao 266107, China
3
Beijing Institute of Spacecraft System Engineering, China Academy of Space Technology, Beijing 100094, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 August 2017 / Revised: 11 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 14 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in SAR: Sensors, Methodologies, and Applications)
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Abstract

It is well known that the Faraday rotation (FR) is obviously embedded in spaceborne polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) data at L-band and lower frequencies. By model inversion, some widely used FR angle estimators have been proposed for compensation and provide a new field in high-resolution ionospheric soundings. However, as an integrated product of electron density and the parallel component of the magnetic field, FR angle measurements/observations demonstrate the ability to characterize horizontal ionosphere. In order to make a general study of ionospheric structure, this paper reconstructs the electron density distribution based on a modified two-dimensional computerized ionospheric tomography (CIT) technique, where the FR angles, rather than the total electron content (TEC), are regarded as the input. By using the full-pol (full polarimetric) data of Phase Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) on board Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS), International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) and International Geomagnetic Reference Field (IGRF) models, numerical simulations corresponding to different FR estimators and SAR scenes are made to validate the proposed technique. In simulations, the imaging of kilometer-scale ionospheric disturbances, a spatial scale that is rarely detectable by CIT using GPS, is presented. In addition, the ionospheric reconstruction using SAR polarimetric information does not require strong point targets within a SAR scene, which is necessary for CIT using SAR imaging information. Finally, the effects of system errors including noise, channel imbalance and crosstalk on the reconstruction results are also analyzed to show the applicability of CIT based on spaceborne full-pol SAR data. View Full-Text
Keywords: Faraday rotation; polarimetric synthetic aperture radar; Phase Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar; computerized ionospheric tomography; International Reference Ionosphere; International Geomagnetic Reference Field Faraday rotation; polarimetric synthetic aperture radar; Phase Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar; computerized ionospheric tomography; International Reference Ionosphere; International Geomagnetic Reference Field
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, C.; Chen, L.; Zhao, H.; Lu, Z.; Bian, M.; Zhang, R.; Feng, J. Ionospheric Reconstructions Using Faraday Rotation in Spaceborne Polarimetric SAR Data. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1169.

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