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Rough-surface scattering theory is applied to study microwave backscattering from seas characterized by a non-Gaussian wave-height distribution. The relationship of the geometrical optics limit of rough-surface scattering theory to the probability density of surface slopes is used to relate the coefficients of Gram-Charlier expansions, describing measured slope statistics, to the wavenumber spectra of non-Gaussian surface components. Functional forms for the spectra consistent with measured slope statistics are assumed, and the backscatter predicted by rough-surface scattering theory is compared with measured cross sections. The predicted upwind-downwind asymmetry of scattering cross sections is comparable to that observed, and a measurable dependence of cross sections on atmospheric stability is predicted.