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A Physical-Optics Model for Double-Bounce Scattering From Tree Stems Standing on an Undulating Ground Surface

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4 Author(s)

In this paper, a model for prediction of radar backscatter from coniferous forests in the VHF and UHF band is proposed. The model includes the double-bounce scattering originating from vertical stems standing on an undulating ground surface and is based on a physical-optics approach. The model can be used to assess the importance of ground topography in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery of forests, and it is applicable to SAR systems using horizontally transmit and receive polarization (HH). The model was validated against data from the airborne SAR systems CARABAS-II and LORA. Precision measurements of ground topography and forest characterization at a single tree level were used as model input to simulate SAR images. The simulated images were compared to radar data in the frequency bands 22-82 and 225- 470 MHz, and it was found that the model could predict much of the variation in backscatter observed in images (R2 = 0.44 and 0.65 at best, for the lower and higher frequency band, respectively), which should be compared to R2 = 0.1 if the same model, but assuming a flat ground, was used. The results thus indicate that ground topography must be considered when predicting the variations in backscatter in the SAR images studied. The model did, however, fail to predict the absolute values of the backscattered intensity. The reason for the discrepancy is believed to be the value chosen for stem dielectric constant and unmodeled effects due to wave attenuation, tilting stems, and small-scale surface roughness.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 9 )

Date of Publication:

Sept. 2008

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