2nd Symposium of IAG Commission 4 “Positioning and Applications”
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

GNSS Reflectometry: Novel Remote Sensing of the Earth

Milad Asgarimehr1, Tianqi Xiao1,5, Minfeng Song1,2, Caroline Arnold3, Mina Rahmani4, and Jens Wickert1
Milad Asgarimehr et al.
  • 1German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing, China
  • 3Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum DKRZ, Hamburg, Germany
  • 4Department of Geomatics Engineering, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran
  • 5Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation Science, Faculty VI, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

The exploitation of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals after reflection from the Earth’s surface, called GNSS Reflectometry (GNSS-R), is a novel technique for the remote sensing of a variety of geophysical parameters. The demonstration mission, UK TechDemoSat-1 (TDS-1) launched in 2014, carried a spaceborne GNSS-R receiver showing the capabilities of the technique to monitor ocean, land, and the cryosphere. The GNSS-R small satellites need to carry only the low-cost, low-mass, and low-power receivers, which leads to the cost-effective development of multi-satellite constellations. This along with the capability of GNSS-R receivers to track multiple reflected GNSS signals at the same time offer an unprecedented sampling rate and potentially knowledge of the Earth system and the climate beyond those derived from conventional sensors. NASA Cyclone GNSS (CYGNSS), launched in late 2016, is one of the operational constellations with eight microsatellites tracking up to four GPS reflected signals. More missions are in orbit, e.g., constellations launched by Spire (commercial) and Chinese FENGYUN-3E mission. GNSS-R satellites with different objectives will be launched, e.g., ESA Passive REflecTomeTry and dosimetry (PRETTY) CubeSat and ESA HydroGNSS, whose data will be available in 2022 and 2024 respectively.

In this presentation, an overview of selected recent GNSS-R studies at the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ will be given. After a brief history of the technique, the principles of the measurements and important GNSS-R missions will be introduced. The ocean surface and wind speed monitoring, from the first products of TDS-1 to recent deep learning-based CYGNSS wind speeds with an RMSE and 1.4 m/s, will be presented. Rain splash alters ocean surface, based on which, rain over calm ocean can be detected. Experiments for precipitation monitoring are carried out. The capabilities of GNSS-R for inland water body detection, land surface, and aridity monitoring in forests is studied.

How to cite: Asgarimehr, M., Xiao, T., Song, M., Arnold, C., Rahmani, M., and Wickert, J.: GNSS Reflectometry: Novel Remote Sensing of the Earth, 2nd Symposium of IAG Commission 4 “Positioning and Applications”, Potsdam, Germany, 5–8 Sep 2022, iag-comm4-2022-54, https://doi.org/10.5194/iag-comm4-2022-54, 2022.