Comparison of tropospheric delay correction methods for InSAR analysis using a mesoscale meteorological model: a case study from Japan

Sardila Nurulhikmah Sailellah, Yo Fukushima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A major source of error in interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), used for mapping ground deformation, is the delay caused by changes in the propagation velocity of radar microwaves in the troposphere. Correcting this tropospheric delay noise using numerical weather models is common because of their global availability. Various correction methods and tools exist; selecting the most appropriate one by considering weather models, delay models, and delay calculation algorithms is essential for specific applications. We compared the performance of two tropospheric delay correction methods applied to Advanced Land Observing Satellite-2 (ALOS-2) data acquired over Japan, where the atmospheric field is complex with significant seasonal variation. We tested: (1) a method of delay integration along the slant radar line-of-sight (LOS) path using the mesoscale model (MSM) provided by the Japan Meteorological Agency and (2) the Generic Atmospheric Correction Online Service (GACOS) for InSAR, which estimates delay using the high-resolution forecast (HRES)-European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) products along with an iterative decomposition approach. The results showed that the tropospheric delay correction using the slant-delay integration approach with MSM, which has a finer temporal and spatial resolution, performed slightly better than GACOS. We further found that the differences in the refractivity models would have limited significance, suggesting that the difference in performance mainly originates from differences in the numerical weather models being used. This study highlights the importance of using the best-available numerical weather model data for tropospheric delay calculations. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Journalearth, planets and space
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec


  • ALOS-2
  • Atmospheric delay
  • Interferometric synthetic aperture radar
  • Tropospheric delay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Space and Planetary Science


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