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Polarimetric Decomposition Over Glacier Ice Using Long-Wavelength Airborne PolSAR

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4 Author(s)
Sharma, J.J. ; Microwaves & Radar Inst., German Aerosp. Agency (DLR), Wessling, Germany ; Hajnsek, I. ; Papathanassiou, K.P. ; Moreira, A.

In recent years, there has been increased interest in using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to study and monitor glaciers and ice sheets for glaciological and climate change research. However, due to the medium's complexity, SAR backscattering from ice remains poorly understood, including the relative importance of scattering from surface and volume layers and also dependences on frequency and glacier zone. Extreme weather conditions can result in quickly changing surface conditions influencing backscatter signatures while leaving the underlying volume of interest unchanged. Surface and volume components must thus be separated in order to infer information regarding the properties of the ice volume. This paper describes a three-component scattering model to decompose polarimetric SAR (PolSAR) images of glacier ice. Total backscatter is modeled as the incoherent summation of surface, volume, and sastrugi (wind-induced feature) components. The proposed model adapts and extends the Freeman and Durden decomposition for an ice volume scenario in which the volume is a dielectric medium. Forms of the model for both random and oriented volumes are considered, and a new oriented sastrugi component is introduced which is able to explain backscatter behavior between different winter scenes. Validation is performed with airborne PolSAR data at L- and P-band collected using the E-SAR system of the German Aerospace Center over the Austfonna ice cap in Svalbard, Norway, as part of the ICESAR campaign.

Published in:

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