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The feasibility of retrieving the phenological stage of rice fields at a particular date by employing coherent copolar dual-pol X-band radar images acquired by the TerraSAR-X sensor has been investigated in this paper. A set of polarimetric observables that can be derived from this data type has been studied by using a time series of images gathered during the whole cultivation period of rice. Among the analyzed parameters, besides backscattering coefficients and ratios, we have observed clear signatures in the correlation (in magnitude and phase) between channels in both the linear and Pauli bases, as well as in parameters provided by target decomposition techniques, like entropy and alpha from the eigenvector decomposition. A new model-based decomposition providing estimates of a random volume component plus a polarized contribution has been proposed and employed in interpreting the radar response of rice. By exploiting the signatures of these observables in terms of the phenology of rice, a simple approach to estimate the phenological stage from a single pass has been devised. This approach has been tested with the available data acquired over a site in Spain, where rice is cultivated, ensuring ground is flooded for the whole cultivation cycle, and sowing is carried out by randomly spreading the seeds on the flooded ground. Results are in good agreement with the available ground measurements despite some limitations that exist due to the reduced swath coverage of the dual-pol HHVV mode and the high noise floor of the TerraSAR-X system.