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Characterization of the Ionospheric environment at low latitudes, application to Biomass external calibration sites

Thu, 12/09/2021 - 09:43
Start Date: 
2016
Programme: 
Discovery
End Date: 
2017
Programme Reference: 
AO4e
Country: 
Italy
Contractor: 
INGV
Description: 

BIOMASS is a polarimetric P-band (435 MHz) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) in a dawn-dusk low Earth orbit. Its principal objective is to measure biomass content and biomass change in all the Earth’s forests. The mission launch is envisaged around 2020, for five-year duration. The ionosphere introduces Faraday rotation and scintillations on every pulse emitted by low- frequency SAR, impacting the quality of the imaging. Some of these effects are due to Total Electron Content (TEC) and its gradients along the propagation path. To support the BIOMASS operations, an accurate assessment of the ionosphere morphology and dynamics is necessary, especially in the equatorial and tropical regions. To support the BIOMASS operations, an accurate assessment of the ionosphere morphology and dynamics is necessary, especially in the equatorial and tropical regions. To the scope, we have conducted an in-depth investigation of the significant noise budget introduced by the southern crest and the trough of the Equatorial Ionospheric Anomaly (EIA) over Brazil. The work performed is characterized by a novel approach to conceive a SAR-oriented ionospheric assessment, aimed at detecting and identifying spatial and temporal TEC gradients, including scintillation effects, by means of GNSS ground-based monitoring stations. The assessment is supported by the characterization of the ionospheric features derived from ionosondes. The novelty of the adopted approach stands in the customization of the information about the ionospheric impact on SAR imaging as derived by local dense networks of ground instruments during the times of BIOMASS passes.

Application Domain: 
Earth Observation
Keywords: 
Alcantara
Biomass
SAR
Ionosphere
South America
Executive summary: 
Final presentation: