14 Dec 2022
14 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal GC.

Strategies for improving the communication of satellite-derived InSAR ground displacements

C. Scott Watson1, John R. Elliott1, Susanna K. Ebmeier1, Juliet Biggs2, Fabien Albino3, Sarah K. Brown4, Helen Burns5, Andrew Hooper1, Milan Lazecky1, Yasser Maghsoudi1, Richard Rigby5, and Tim J. Wright1 C. Scott Watson et al.
  • 1COMET, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 2COMET, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK, BS8 1RJ, UK
  • 3ISTerre, Grenoble, France
  • 4School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ, UK
  • 5CEMAC, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK

Abstract. Satellite-based earth observation sensors are increasingly able to monitor geophysical signals related to natural hazards, and many groups are working on rapid data acquisition, processing, and dissemination to data users with a wide range of expertise and goals. A particular challenge in the meaningful dissemination of Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data to non-expert users is its unique differential data structure and sometimes low signal to noise ratio. In this study, we evaluate the online dissemination of ground deformation measurements from InSAR through Twitter, alongside the provision of open access InSAR data from the Centre for Observation and Modelling of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tectonics (COMET) Looking Into Continents from Space with Synthetic Aperture Radar (LiCSAR) processing system. Our aim is to evaluate (1) who interacts with disseminated InSAR data, (2) how the data are used and (3) to discuss strategies for meaningful communication and dissemination of open InSAR data. We found that InSAR Twitter activity was primarily associated with natural hazard response, specifically following earthquakes and volcanic activity, where InSAR measurements of ground deformation were disseminated, often using wrapped and unwrapped interferograms. For earthquake events, Sentinel-1 data were acquired, processed, and tweeted within 4.7±2.8 days (shortest was one day). Open access Sentinel-1 data dominated the InSAR tweets and were applied to volcanic and earthquake events in the most engaged with (retweeted) content. Open access InSAR data provided by LiCSAR was widely accessed, including automatically processed and tweeted interferograms and interactive event pages revealing ground deformation following earthquake events. The further work required to integrate dissemination of InSAR data into longer-term disaster risk reduction strategies is highly specific, both to hazard-type, international community of practice, and local political setting and civil protection mandates. Notably, communication of uncertainties and processing methodologies are still lacking. We conclude by outlining the future direction of COMET LiCSAR products to maximise their useability.

C. Scott Watson et al.

Status: open (until 05 Mar 2023)

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C. Scott Watson et al.

C. Scott Watson et al.


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Short summary
We evaluate the communication and open data processing of satellite Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data, which measures ground deformation. We discuss the unique interpretation challenges and the use of automatic data processing and web tools to broaden accessibility. We link these tools with an analysis of InSAR communication through Twitter in which applications to earthquakes and volcanoes prevailed. We discuss future integration with disaster risk reduction strategies.