Groundwater represents about a third of global water withdrawals, and approximately half of global irrigation water. In many arid and semi-arid regions, groundwater is rapidly being depleted, which is affecting agricultural productivity over the long term. The over-exploitation of groundwater due to the current drought episode in South-Western U.S. has already led farmers to fallow hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland.
We leverage recent developments in artificial intelligence in order to improve deformation detection thresholds in Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR). Our technology allows to deconvolve signal from noise in InSAR data, and lowers the detection threshold of surface deformation in spatially continuous InSAR time series of ground deformation by about an order of magnitude compared to the state-of-the-art. Phase I focused on separating ground deformation signals from atmospheric noise, and improving the time resolution of the associated InSAR time series. In this Phase II proposal, we focus on further improving detection capabilities by taking directly into account a second major source of noise in InSAR data, due to soil moisture.
We specifically train models on time series of seasonal depletion and recharge in order to study variations in groundwater levels in InSAR data, with the goal of allowing governments and organizations to take informed assessments and policies related to groundwater supplies.
NASA is about to launch a new satellite constellation for InSAR (NiSAR), with a planned launch date in 2023, and our proposed technology could be applied to data provided by this new constellation.
Moreover, our algorithm could be interfaced with InSAR interferogram data from NASA Earthdata, and can be used in combination with NASA code libraries (isce, AriaTools).
Last, the NASA Observational Products for End-Users from Remote Sensing Analysis (OPERA) project started in April 2021, and our proposed work could be coupled to OPERA products.
Our other commercialization applications are targeting several sectors: i) farming; ii) state and local governments, with the goal of helping monitor groundwater resources; iii) the insurance sector, and in particular insurance products related to flooding and drought; and iv) the finance sector, to help anticipate changes in the price of oil and gas, as well as water.