Ground-based differential interferometric radar monitoring of unstable mountain blocks in a coastal environment
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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In this paper, we present the results of eight years of continuous monitoring with a ground-based, interferometric, real-aperture radar of two unstable mountain blocks at Tafjord on the western coast of Norway. A real-time, interferometric, ground-based radar has the capability to provide high accuracy range measurements by using the phase of the transmitted signal, thus achieving sub-millimeter accuracy when a sufficient signal-to-noise level is present. The main challenge with long term monitoring is the variations in radio refractivity caused by changes in the atmosphere. The range variations caused by refractive changes in the atmosphere are corrected using meteorological data. We use triangular corner reflectors as references to improve the signal-to-clutter ratio and improve the accuracy of the measurements. We have also shown that by using differential interferometry, a significant part of the variation caused by radio refractivity variations is removed. The overall reduction in path length variation when using differential interferometry varies from 27 to 164 times depending on the radar-to-reflector path length. The measurements reveal cyclic seasonal variations, which are coherent with air temperature. The results show that radar measurements are as accurate as data from in situ instruments like extensometers and crack meters, making it possible to monitor inaccessible ares. The total measured displacement is between 1.2 mm and 4.7 mm for the two monitored mountain blocks.