FCE LTER Journal Articles


Multi-temporal monitoring of wetland water levels in the Florida Everglades using interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)


Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) techniques can successfully detect phase variations related to the water level changes in wetlands and produce spatially detailed high-resolution maps of water level changes. Despite the vast details, the usefulness of the wetland InSAR observations is rather limited, because hydrologists and water resources managers need information on absolute water level values and not on relative water level changes. We present an InSAR technique called Small Temporal Baseline Subset (STBAS) for monitoring absolute water level time series using radar interferograms acquired successively over wetlands. The method uses stage (water level) observation for calibrating the relative InSAR observations and tying them to the stage's vertical datum. We tested the STBAS technique with two-year long Radarsat-1 data acquired during 2006–2008 over the Water Conservation Area 1 (WCA1) in the Everglades wetlands, south Florida (USA). The InSAR-derived water level data were calibrated using 13 stage stations located in the study area to generate 28 successive high spatial resolution maps (50 m pixel resolution) of absolute water levels. We evaluate the quality of the STBAS technique using a root mean square error (RMSE) criterion of the difference between InSAR observations and stage measurements. The average RMSE is 6.6 cm, which provides an uncertainty estimation of the STBAS technique to monitor absolute water levels. About half of the uncertainties are attributed to the accuracy of the InSAR technique to detect relative water levels. The other half reflects uncertainties derived from tying the relative levels to the stage stations' datum.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Florida Coastal Everglades Long-Term Ecological Research program under Cooperative Agreements #DBI-0620409 and #DEB-9910514. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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