Measurement of the ionospheric scintillation parameter CkL from SAR images of clutter

David Belcher, Chris Mannix, P.S. Cannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
415 Downloads (Pure)


Space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can be affected by the ionosphere, particularly at L-band and below. A technique is described that exploits the reduction in SAR image contrast to measure the strength of ionospheric turbulence parameter C k L. The theory describing the effect of the ionosphere on the SAR point spread function (PSF) and the consequent effect on clutter is reviewed and extended. This theory can then be used to determine C k L from both corner reflectors (CRs) and K-distributed SAR clutter. Measuring the K-distribution order parameter allows CkL values much lower than those that defocus the image to be determined. The results of an experiment in which a CR on Ascension Island was repeatedly imaged by PALSAR-2 in the spotlight mode during the scintillation season are described. The value of C k L obtained by measuring the clutter was compared with that obtained from a nearby CR. The correlation between the two was good using a median value of the spectral index p. This correlation was improved by using the measured value of p derived from the CR PSF. The technique works for any homogeneous K-distributed SAR clutter and is thus applicable to extra-terrestrial bodies as well as PALSAR-2 images of Ascension Island.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5937-5943
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number10
Early online date8 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • Ionosphere
  • ionospheric electromagnetic propagation
  • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)


Dive into the research topics of 'Measurement of the ionospheric scintillation parameter CkL from SAR images of clutter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this