Direct comparison of sea surface velocity estimated from Sentinel-1 and TanDEM-X SAR data
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2022

This paper presents the first direct comparison of the sea surface radial velocity (RVL) derived from the two satellite SAR systems Sentinel-1 and TanDEM-X, operating at different frequencies and imaging modes. The RVL is derived from the Doppler centroid (Dc) provided in the Sentinel-1 OCN product and from the along-track interferometric phase of the TanDEM-X. The comparison is carried out using opportunistic acquisitions, collocated in space and time, over three different sites. First, it is observed that the RVL derived from both satellites is biased, thus calibration is applied using the land as a reference. The comparison shows that the correlation and the mean RVL bias between the two datasets depend on the differences in acquisition time, incidence angle and azimuth angle, and on wind and current speed and direction. It is found that, given a time difference of < 20 min, the spatial correlation coefficient is relatively high (between 0.7 and 0.93), which indicates that the two SAR systems observe similar sea surface current fields. The spatial correlation degrades primarily due to increasing time difference and decreasing current magnitudes. The mean RVL bias increases primarily with the radial wind speed, which suggests that the RVL bias is mainly due to the wave-induced Doppler shift. This study shows that under certain conditions, i.e. similar acquisition geometry and short time delay, a good agreement between the two independently derived RVL is achieved. This encourages a synergistic use of the sea surface velocity estimated from different C- and X-band SAR systems.

Ocean surface currents

SAR Doppler centroid


Wind speed



Surface waves


Synthetic aperture radar

Sea surface

Along-track interferometry



Anis Elyouncha

Chalmers, Rymd-, geo- och miljövetenskap, Geovetenskap och fjärranalys

Leif Eriksson

Chalmers, Rymd-, geo- och miljövetenskap, Geovetenskap och fjärranalys

Harald Johnsen

NORCE Norwegian Research Centre AS

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing

1939-1404 (ISSN) 2151-1535 (eISSN)

Vol. In Press


Meteorologi och atmosfärforskning

Havs- och vattendragsteknik

Annan fysik



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