Topographic phase recovery from stacked ERS interferometry and a low-resolution digital elevation model

Sandwell, DT, Sichoix L.  2000.  Topographic phase recovery from stacked ERS interferometry and a low-resolution digital elevation model. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 105:28211-28222.

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differential radar interferometry, field, landers earthquake, surface


A hybrid approach to topographic recovery from ERS interferometry is developed and assessed. Tropospheric/ionospheric artifacts, imprecise orbital information, and layover are key issues in recovering topography and surface deformation from repeat-pass interferometry. Previously, we developed a phase gradient approach to stacking interferograms to reduce these errors and also to reduce the short-wavelength phase noise (see Sandwell and Pi-ice [1998] and Appendix A). Here the method is extended to use a low-resolution digital elevation model to constrain long-wavelength phase errors and an iteration scheme to minimize errors in the computation of phase gradient. We demonstrate the topographic phase recovery on 16-m postings using 25 ERS synthetic aperture radar images from an area of southern California containing 2700 m of relief. On the basis of a comparison with 81 GPS monuments, the ERS-derived topography has a typical absolute accuracy of better than 10 m except in areas of layover. The resulting topographic phase enables accurate two-pass, real-time interferometry even in mountainous areas where traditional phase unwrapping schemes fail. As an example, we form a topography-free (127-m perpendicular baseline) interferogram spanning 7.5 years; fringes from two major earthquakes and aseismic slip on the San Andreas Fault are clearly isolated.