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On the Azimuthally Anisotropy Effects of Polarization for Altimetric Measurements

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3 Author(s)
Remy, F. ; Centre Nat. de Recherches Scientifique, Toulouse ; Legresy, B. ; Benveniste, J.

We have investigated the effect of the radar-altimeter antenna polarization on European Remote-sensing Satellite and Envisat observations of the media penetrable by a radar microwave such as ice sheets. This effect is due to the complex interaction between the radar wave, the subsurface backscatter, and the antenna polarization direction. It is modulated by the angle between the antenna polarization and the direction of the anisotropy of the target. Thus, it depends on both the anisotropy direction and the interaction between the radar wave and the reflecting surface. This effect leads to one of the most complex and least understood errors of radar altimetry over ice sheets and can be clearly identified when looking at the crossover differences between ascending and descending satellite tracks. The crossover differences are as large as a few decibels for a backscattering coefficient and a few meters for height, and affect more strongly the Ku-band than the S-band. This causes limitations and difficulties for the processing of altimetric observations, for instance when comparing time series from different satellites whose polarization geometry differs. This will be the case when a new altimeter will fly on a different orbit, as planned for CryoSat. Nevertheless, the ability of both the roughness anisotropy direction and the subsurface modulation to be inverted with satisfactory precision by using simultaneous observations at crossover points between two different satellites is demonstrated here. Thus, it offers a unique way of describing this error accurately to correct for it

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 11 )