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The Use of InSAR Data to Monitor the Hydrologic Response of a Confined Aquifer in the San Luis Valley, Colorado

The Place

The San Luis Valley (SLV) is an 8000 km2 valley, located on the northern side of the Colorado-New Mexico border.

The Problem

The San Luis valley has a vibrant agricultural economy that is highly dependent on the effective management of the limited water resources. The Rio Grand Decision Support System (RGDSS), a Colorado-state-funded project includes a hydrogeologic database and a MODFLOW finite-difference groundwater flow model. The critical challenge for the RGDSS, is acquiring sufficient data to characterize the spatially heterogeneous, time-varying behavior of the groundwater system.

Our Approach

Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) has emerged as a remote sensing method that can provide data to help constrain large-scale hydrogeologic models. The question we ask: How can we use InSAR data to model the response of the aquifer system?

 

 Google Earth image with RGDSS overlay).

The extent of the San Luis Valley as defined by the Rio Grande Decision Support System (RGDSS) (source: Google Earth image with RGDSS overlay).

Using Small Baseline Subset Analysis (SBAS), we can obtain high quality InSAR data - shown as the bright regions in the image.

Using Small Baseline Subset Analysis (SBAS), we can obtain high quality InSAR data - shown as the bright regions in the image.

Results to Date

Demonstrated the advantages of InSAR measurements for basin-wide characterization of aquifer storage properties and groundwater levels over an entire agricultural basin (Chen et al., 2016).

Designed a new algorithm for retrieving InSAR deformation measurements over areas with severe vegetation decorrelation such as SLV using adaptive phase interpolation between persistent scatterer (PS) pixels (Chen et al., 2015).

Estimated the uncertainty in the InSAR deformation measurements and propagated this uncertainty through the data processing chain (Reeves et al., 2014a).

Adapted a time-series processing algorithm such that high quality data are selected based upon the uncertainty of the final deformation time-series (Reeves et al., 2014b).

Identified similar seasonal trends in hydraulic head measurements and InSAR deformation measurements in the San Luis Valley (Reeves et al., 2011).

Verified that high quality InSAR deformation measurements can be made in agricultural areas like the San Luis Valley (Reeves et al., 2011).

Project Publications and Presentations

  • Using spaceborne imaging radar to characterize groundwater levels and aquifer properties, (2016)
  • The use of InSAR for improving confined aquifer head measurements and basin-wide characterization of aquifer storage properties in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH (2016)
  • A persistent scatterer method for retrieving accurate InSAR ground deformation maps over vegetation-decorrelated areas, , (2015)
  • Mapping groundwater levels in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, using InSAR, (2014)
  • The use of InSAR data to map hydraulic head levels in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, (2014)
  • An analysis of the uncertainty in InSAR deformation measurements for groundwater applications in agricultural areas, IEEE Journal (2014)
  • An analysis of the uncertainty in InSAR deformation measurements for groundwater applications in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, Abstract G51B-1104 presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 3-, Abstract G51B-1104 presented at 2012 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 3-7 Dec. (2012)
  • Estimating uncertainty in InSAR deformation measurements in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, poster at 2012 AGU Chapman Conference, Remote Sensing of the Terrestrial Water Cycle, Waikaloa, Hawaii, 19-23 Feb. (2012)
  • InSAR imaging of seasonal groundwater change in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, Abstract NS13A-08 presented at 2011 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 4-9 Dec. (2011)
  • Satellite-Based InSAR Measurements: A New Approach to Groundwater Monitoring, poster at 2011 SAGEEP, Charleston, S.C., 10-13 Apr. (2011)
  • InSAR data produce specific storage estimates for an agricultural area in the San Luis Valley, Colorado, Abstract H11K-08 presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 13-17 Dec. (2010)
  • High quality InSAR deformation measurements for an agricultural area in the San Luis Valley, EGU topical conference series on the hydrologic cycle: Earth Observation and Water Cycle Science, POSTER, November 2009 (2009)
  • InSAR deformation time series for an agricultural area in the San Luis Valley , Eos Trans. AGU (2009)