The identification and measurement of ground deformations in urban areas is of great importance for determining the vulnerable parts of the cities that are prone to geohazards, which is a crucial element of both sustainable urban planning and hazard mitigation. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) time series analysis is a very powerful tool for the operational mapping of ground deformation related to urban subsidence and landslide phenomena. With an analysis spanning almost 25 years of satellite radar observations, we compute an InSAR time series of data from multiple satellites (European Remote Sensing satellites ERS-1 and ERS-2, Envisat, Sentinel-1A, and its twin sensor Sentinel-1B) in order to investigate the spatial extent and rate of ground deformation in the megacity of Istanbul. By combining the various multi-track InSAR datasets (291 images in total) and analysing persistent scatterers (PS-InSAR), we present mean velocity maps of ground surface displacement in selected areas of Istanbul. We identify several sites along the terrestrial and coastal regions of Istanbul that underwent vertical ground subsidence at varying rates, from 5 ± 1.2 mm/yr to 15 ± 2.1 mm/yr. The results reveal that the most distinctive subsidence patterns are associated with both anthropogenic factors and relatively weak lithologies along the Haramirede valley in particular, where the observed subsidence is up to 10 ± 2 mm/yr. We show that subsidence has been occurring along the Ayamama river stream at a rate of up to 10 ± 1.8 mm/yr since 1992, and has also been slowing down over time following the restoration of the river and stream system. We also identify subsidence at a rate of 8 ± 1.2 mm/yr along the coastal region of Istanbul, which we associate with land reclamation, as well as a very localised subsidence at a rate of 15 ± 2.3 mm/yr starting in 2016 around one of the highest skyscrapers of Istanbul, which was built in 2010.
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