On the Use of Weighted Least-Squares Approaches for Differential Interferometric SAR Analyses: The Weighted Adaptive Variable-lEngth (WAVE) Technique

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Feb 18;20(4):1103. doi: 10.3390/s20041103.


This paper concentrates on the study of the Weighted Least-squares (WLS) approaches for the generation of ground displacement time-series through Differential Interferometric SAR (DInSAR) methods. Usually, within the DInSAR framework, the Weighted Least-squares (WLS) techniques have principally been applied for improving the performance of the phase unwrapping operations as well as for better conveying the inversion of sequences of unwrapped interferograms to generate ground displacement maps. In both cases, the identification of low-coherent areas, where the standard deviation of the phase is high, is requested. In this paper, a WLS method that extends the usability of the Multi-Temporal InSAR (MT-InSAR) Small Baseline Subset (SBAS) algorithm in regions with medium-to-low coherence is presented. In particular, the proposed method relies on the adaptive selection and exploitation, pixel-by-pixel, of the medium-to-high coherent interferograms, only, so as to discard the noisy phase measurements. The selected interferometric phase values are then inverted by solving a WLS optimization problem. Noteworthy, the adopted, pixel-dependent selection of the "good" interferograms to be inverted may lead the available SAR data to be grouped into several disjointed subsets, which are then connected, exploiting the Weighted Singular Value Decomposition (WSVD) method. However, in some critical noisy regions, it may also happen that discarding of the incoherent interferograms may lead to rejecting some SAR acquisitions from the generated ground displacement time-series, at the cost of the reduced temporal sampling of the data measurements. Thus, variable-length ground displacement time-series are generated. The mathematical framework of the developed technique, which is named Weighted Adaptive Variable-lEngth (WAVE), is detailed in the manuscript. The presented experiments have been carried out by applying the WAVE technique to a SAR dataset acquired by the COSMO-SkyMed (CSK) sensors over the Basilicata region, Southern Italy. A cross-comparison analysis between the conventional and the WAVE method has also been provided.

Keywords: ground displacement; small baseline; synthetic aperture radar; variable-length time-series; weighted least-squares.