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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8739598, 17 pages
Research Article

Estimating Snow Depth and Snow Water Equivalence Using Repeat-Pass Interferometric SAR in the Northern Piedmont Region of the Tianshan Mountains

1Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering, Xiamen University of Technology, Xiamen 361024, China
2College of Territorial Resources and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241003, China
3State Key Laboratory of Space-Ground Integrated Information Technology, Space Star Technology Co. Ltd., China Academy of Space Technology, Beijing 100086, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Hui Li

Received 17 November 2016; Revised 6 February 2017; Accepted 6 March 2017; Published 12 April 2017

Academic Editor: Stephane Evoy

Copyright © 2017 Hui Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Snow depth and Snow Water Equivalence (SWE) are important parameters for hydrological applications. In this application, a theoretical method of snow depth estimation with repeat-pass InSAR measurements was proposed, and a preliminary sensitivity analysis of snow phase changes versus the incident angle and snow density was developed. Moreover, the snow density and incident angle parameters were analyzed and calibrated, and the local incident angle was used as a substitute for the satellite incident angle to improve the snow depth estimation. From the results, the coherence images showed that a high degree of coherence can be found for dry snow, and, apart from the effect of snow, land use/cover change due to a long temporal baseline and geometric distortion due to the rugged terrain were the main constraints for InSAR technique to measure snow depth and SWE in this area. The result of snow depth estimation between July 2008 and February 2009 demonstrated that the average snow depth was about 20 cm, which was consistent with the field survey results. The areal coverage of snow distribution estimated from the snow depth and SWE results was consistent with snow cover obtained from HJ-1A CCD optical data at the same time.