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Tropospheric artifacts of SAR images in a volcanic area like Mt. Etna cause ambiguity in the interpretation of deformations with such technique. It would be useful to measure the delay caused by tropospheric anomalies in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite signals (phase of the back-scattered radar wave) that could be interpreted as deformation. From the delay estimated through the GPS data processing, the tropospheric tomography of electromagnetic waves refractivity, has been performed using the SIMULps12 software. The aim of this study was to perform software synthetic tests by using SIMULps12 applied to atmospheric tomography and to verify the influence of the different GPS geodetic network configurations on obtaining a reliable tomography. Three different anomalies of increasing complexity have been investigated in order to understand the representative parameters of a correct tomography, the best spatial resolution and the portions of space in which the tomography is reliable. The tests also focused on fixing/establishing the a-priori atmospheric model and the critical values of the main parameters involved in the tomographic inversion. To this end, we made a random choice of two days, necessary to define the tomographic problem. Three different network configurations with 15, 30 and 90 GPS receivers were studied. The results indicate that the well-resolved area of tomographic images increases with the number of GPS receivers not linearly, and that the actual GPS network of 42 receivers is capable of revealing/detecting the atmospheric anomalies.
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