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Microwave/RADAR Data

  • By: Barry Haack
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Remote sensing for Earth surface information increasingly uses varied components of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as microwave energy in wavelengths between 1 mm (millimeter) and 1 m (meter). Microwave can be passive or active. Passive sensors record the energy received. There is limited passive microwave sensing primarily at coarse spatial resolution for atmospheric studies. Active microwave sends and receives energy and is much more widely used.

Active microwave is RADAR, an acronym for RAdio Detection and Ranging. RADAR systems emit energy, and the returning waves are recorded in intensity and time of travel. The time of travel can be converted to distance from the sensor to the surface and used to determine with considerable accuracy surface distance and elevations by sensors known as Interferometric RADAR (IFSAR ...

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