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The utilization of both polarimetric amplitude and relative phase terms of the polarization scattering matrix [S] given for each pixel, is pursued for polarimetric SAR imagery interpretation. The existing amplitude-only backscattering approaches hitherto used are extended and modified to accommodate the interpretation of information contained in the amplitude and/or phase terms. Both a vector radiative transfer model for surface versus volume scattering from rough terrain with and without vegetation canopy and a high-frequency electrical curvature model for perfectly conducting surfaces are examined to come up with theoretical models that out-perform other hitherto known approaches. The developed models agree with the excellent polarimetric SAR imagery recently obtained with the JPL CV-990 dual-polarization L-band (1.225 GHz) SAR system. Recommendations are made on how to further perfect the system for integration in the SIR-C and other future polarimetric SIR-SAR systems.