Space Radar Image of Oetzal, Austria

This is a digital elevation model that was geometrically coded directly onto an X-band seasonal change image of the Oetztal supersite in Austria. The image is centered at 46.82 degrees north latitude and 10.79 degrees east longitude. This image is located in the Central Alps at the border between Switzerland, Italy and Austria, 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Innsbruck. It was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on April 14, 1994 and on October 5, 1994. It was produced by combining data from these two different data sets. Data obtained in April is green; data obtained in October appears in red and blue, and was used as an enhancement based on the ratio of the two data sets. Areas with a decrease in backscatter fromApril to October appear in light blue (cyan), such as the large Gepatschferner glacier seen at the left of the image center, and most of the other glaciers in this view. A light blue hue is also visible at the east border of the dark blue Lake Reschensee at the upper left side. This shows a significant rise in the water level. Magenta represents areas with an increase of backscatter from April 10 to October 5. Yellow indicates areas with high radar signal response during both passes, such as the mountain slopes facing the radar. Low radar backscatter signals refer to smooth surface (lakes) or radar grazing areas to radar shadow areas, seen in the southeast slopes. The area is approximately 29 kilometers by 21 kilometers (18 miles by 13.5 miles). The summit of the main peaks reaches elevations of 3,500 to 3,768 meters (xx feet to xx feet) above sea level. The test sites core area is the glacier region of Venter Valley, which is one of the most intensively studied areas for glacier research in the world. Research in Venter Valley (below center) includes studies of glacier dynamics, glacier-climate regions, snowpack conditions and glacier hydrology. About 25 percent of the core test site is covered by glaciers. Corner reflectors are set up for calibration. Five corner reflectors can be seen on the Gepatschferner and two can be seen on the Vernagtferner. Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/ X-SAR) is part of NASAs Mission to Planet Earth. The radars illuminate Earth with microwaves, allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L-band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3 cm). The multi-frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity. SIR-C was developed by NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory. X-SAR was developed by the Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), with the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fuer Luft und Raumfahrt e.V.(DLR), the major partner in science, operations and data processing of X-SAR.
Source: NASA JPL

Space Radar Image of Oetzal, Austria

This image is a false-color composite of Oetztal, Austria located in the Central Alps centered at 46.8 degrees north latitude, 10.70 degrees east longitude, at the border between Switzerland (top), Italy (left) and Austria (right and bottom). The area shown is 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Innsbruck, Austria. This image was acquired by the Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on its 14th orbit. Oetztal is a SIR-C/X-SAR hydrology supersite. Approximately one quarter of this image is covered by glaciers, the largest of which, Gepatschferner, is visible as a triangular yellow patch in the center of the scene. The summits of the main peaks reach elevations between 3,500 and 3,768 meters (11,500 and 12,362 feet) above sea level. The tongues of the glaciers are descending from elevated plateaus down into narrow valleys which were formed during the last ice age. This color image was produced in C-band using multi-polarization information (red=CHV, green=CVV,blue=CVV/CHV). The blue areas are lakes (Gepatsch dam at center right; Lake Muta at top right) and glacier ice. The yellow areas are slopes facing the radar and areas of dry snow. Purple corresponds to slopes facing away from the radar. Yellow in the valley bottom corresponds to tree covered areas. There is 30 to 50 centimeters (12 to 20 inches) of dry, fresh snow on the glaciers, and about 10 centimeters (4 inches) in the valley at the city of Vent, Austria (center). At these data were taken, the weather was cold, with snow and thick fog. The entire area would appear white to an optical sensor because it is all covered under a winter snowpack. Researchers are interested in Oetztal because knowing how glaciers shrink and grow over time is an important indication of climatic change. Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C and X-Synthetic Aperture Radar (SIR-C/X-SAR) is part of NASAs Mission to Planet Earth (MTPE). The radars illuminate Earth with microwaves allowing detailed observations at any time, regardless of weather or sunlight conditions. SIR-C/X-SAR uses three microwave wavelengths: L-band (24 cm), C-band (6 cm) and X-band (3 cm). The multi-frequency data will be used by the international scientific community to better understand the global environment and how it is changing. The SIR-C/X-SAR data, complemented by aircraft and ground studies, will give scientists clearer insights into those environmental changes which are caused by nature and those changes which are induced by human activity. SIR-C was developed by NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory. X-SAR was developed by the Dornier and Alenia Spazio companies for the German space agency, Deutsche Agentur fuer Raumfahrtangelegenheiten (DARA), and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI).
Source: NASA JPL