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Impact of Soil Structure on Microwave Volume Scattering Evaluated by a Two-Dimensional Numerical Model

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6 Author(s)
Onier, C. ; Unite Mixte de Rech. "Environnement Mediterraneen et Modelisation des AgroHydrosyteme, Univ. d''Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse, Avignon, France ; Chanzy, A. ; Chambarel, A. ; Rouveure, R.
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Soil volumetric structure is an important parameter for tillage operation. The aim of this paper is to assess whether volume characteristics can be inferred from radar measurements. A 2-D numerical model (the 2DSCAT model) was developed based on a numerical solver using a time-domain finite-element method to solve Maxwell's equations. Perfectly matched layers were implemented as well as a near- to far-field transformation. A focused incident beam was generated by adapting the boundary conditions. To represent the soil structure, a simulator was developed describing the soil as biphasic media (fine earth and clods). Clods were represented by randomly deformed ellipses, with randomly determined dimensions, locations, and orientations. The model performed successfully, as evaluated against exact analytical solutions available for an infinite perfectly conducting cylinder and the reflection of flat semi-infinite media. The model was then evaluated against measurements made by an X-band FM continuous-wave radar on a box filled with dry clods of different sizes. The effect of the clod size on the backscattering power was very well reproduced, showing the potential of using a 2-D numerical model to understand microwave-backscattering patterns from cloddy soils. Analysis of the volume scattering shows that this phenomenon can be mostly hidden in the scatter diagram by surface scattering when the latter occurred. However, the volume scattering gives a stronger residual signal in time because of propagation through the medium. Thus, time studies of the scattering signal provide further information about volume heterogeneities.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 1 )