BackForwardInstrument:  PALSAR-2 

Instrument details
Acronym PALSAR-2
Full name Phased-Array L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar - 2
Purpose High-resolution all-weather soil moisture and ocean surface features observation
Short description L-band SAR, frequency 1.27 GHz, multi-polarisation and variable pointing/resolution [see detailed characteristics below]
Background Evolution of PALSAR on ALOS
Scanning Technique Side-looking, 7.3-58.8° off-nadir, swath 25 to 350 km, depending on operation mode
Resolution 1 to 100 m, depending on operation mode
Coverage / Cycle Global coverage in minimum 2 weeks (gapless cover in 42 or 56 days by stripmap mode), depending on operation mode (duty cycle 30 min/orbit)
Mass 658 kg Power 5000 W Data Rate 800 Mbps

 

Providing Agency JAXA
Instrument Maturity Backed by strong heritage
Utilization Period: 2014-11-25 to ≥2020
Last update: 2018-10-05
Detailed characteristics

Operation mode

Resolution

Swath

Polarisations

Incidence angle

Spotlight

1-3 m

25 km

HH or VV

8-70°

Stripmap(ultra-fine)

3 m

50 km

HH or VV or HH/HV or VV/VH

8-70°

Stripmap(high-sensitive)

6 m

50 km

HH or VV or HH/HV or VV/VH HH or VV or HH/HV or VV/VH or (HH/HV + VV/VH)

8-70°

Stripmap(fine)

10 m

70 km

HH or VV or HH/HV or VV/VH HH or VV or HH/HV or VV/VH or (HH/HV + VV/VH)

8-70°

ScanSAR

100 m

350 km

HH or VV or HH/HV or VV/VH

8-70°

Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Earth observation instrument
  • Active and radio-occultation sensor
  • Imaging radar (SAR)
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Biomass
  • Fraction of vegetated land
  • Land cover
  • Land surface topography
  • Oil spill cover
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Tentative Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Biomass2 - very highIndex only.. Infrequent coverage.L-band sensitive to total biomass
Dominant wave direction5 - marginalInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR. Variable measured by spectral analysis of "imagettes"
Dominant wave period5 - marginalInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR. Variable measured by spectral analysis of "imagettes"
Fire fractional cover3 - highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR. High resolution, for fire boundary detection
Fraction of vegetated land5 - marginalNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Glacier cover1 - primaryLong time for mapping.L-band SAR for accurate boundary detection
Glacier motion2 - very highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Glacier topography2 - very highLong time for mapping.L-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Ice sheet topography2 - very highLong time for mapping.L-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Land cover5 - marginalNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Land surface topography2 - very highLong time for mapping.L-band SAR for interferometry between images taken at time intervals
Oil spill cover2 - very highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR
Sea-ice cover1 - primaryNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Sea-ice elevation5 - marginalNo specific limitation.L-band SAR. Sea ice elevation measured by interferometry
Sea-ice thickness5 - marginalChange detection only.L-band SAR. Sea ice elevation measured by interferometry. Thickness inferred by ice model
Sea-ice type3 - highNo specific limitation.L-band SAR. Type interpreted as age/roughness
Significant wave height5 - marginalHighly indirect.. Infrequent coverage.L-band SAR. Retrieved by spectral analysis of "imagettes". Boundary condition necessary for the retrieval
Snow water equivalent4 - fairChange detection only.. Infrequent coverage.L-band SAR. SWE is retrieved by grigging with data from ground networks
Soil moisture (in the roots region)2 - very highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR
Soil moisture at surface2 - very highInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR
Soil type5 - marginalNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Vegetation type5 - marginalNo specific limitation.L-band SAR
Wave directional energy frequency spectrum5 - marginalInfrequent coverage.L-band SAR. Variable measured by spectral analysis of "imagettes"