Preliminary Analysis of Shuttle Radar Laboratory (SRL-1) Data to Study Aeolian Features and Processes

Ronald Greeley, Dan G. Blumberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In April 1994, the Shuttle Radar Laboratory (SRL-1) obtained quad-polarization data in L-band (λ = 24 cm) and C-band (λ = 5.6 cm) and VV-polarized data in X-band (λ = 3 cm). Preliminary analyses show that radar backscatter coefficients (σ°) can be used to map the aerodynamic roughness parameter, z0, over large areas from orbit, as demonstrated by comparisons with measurements of z0 obtained in the field. Although all wavelengths and polarizations show fairly good correlations with z0 (r = 0.78), L-band HV shows the best relationship (r = 0.81). This result has potential use in regional studies of sand and dust transport, modeling atmospheric circulation, and general climate studies. SRL images of aeolian landforms were also studied, including dunes, sand sheets, and wind streaks. Dunes in the Stovepipe Wells area of Death Valley were clearly visible on L-band HV images, but not detected on C-band images. In the same area, L-band penetrated a sand sheet to reveal a buried fault scarp. L-band images in Namibia showed the classic linear dunes near Gobabeb and also revealed previously undetected sets of “cross dunes.” Wind streaks were imaged in several areas, including Namibia where streaks are associated with the impact crater, Roter Kamm. These features enable mapping of near surface wind patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-933
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)


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