Polarimetric SAR analysis of tsunami damage following the March 11th east Japan Earthquake

Motoyuki Sato, Si Wei Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The earthquake and tsunami of March 11th, 2011, killed more than 15,000 people in Eastern Japan. The importance of remote sensing for understanding the damage caused by natural disasters is quite significant, and many data sets were acquired after the March 11th earthquake. In this paper, we demonstrate the importance and the potential of full polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data. Full polarimetric SAR images acquired by the spaceborne ALOS/PALSAR system on November 21st, 2010 and April 8th, 2011, and acquired by the airborne Pi-SAR2 system on March 12th and 18th, 2011, are used for this analysis, respectively. Model-based decomposition is applied and clearly shows the scattering mechanism changes at the damaged downtown of Ishinomaki city and the flooded areas near the main stream of the Kitakami River. Polarization orientation angle is estimated to provide additional information to understand the damage effect in built-up area. Besides, Pi-SAR2 data sets are used to analyze the flooded rice paddy fields in Natori city. The relative backscattering values are compared for the multi-Temporal images and we could observe that the HV component is more sensitive to the flooded boundary. Finally, the automatically detected flooding maps using the HV component provide relatively accurate results.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEUSAR 2012; 9th European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9783800734047
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 1
Event9th European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar, EUSAR 2012 - Nuremberg, Germany
Duration: 2012 Apr 232012 Apr 26

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar, EUSAR
ISSN (Print)2197-4403


Other9th European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar, EUSAR 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Instrumentation


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