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A numerical study of the retrieval of sea surface profiles from low-grazing-angle interferometric radar measurements is described. Backscattered fields computed using the method of moments for 1-D ocean-like surface profiles are used to examine statistical properties of the single-look interferometric phase estimator, in order to investigate the applicability of standard expectations for height retrieval accuracy in this problem. The results show that shadowing and multipath propagation effects cause errors in interferometric phase estimation beyond those caused by speckle effects alone. In addition, the decorrelation between the fields received at two antennas is found to be impacted by shadowing and multipath propagation effects, making standard models for this quantity inapplicable as well. These results show that modeling the expected performance of interferometric sea surface height retrieval approaches at low grazing angles is difficult at present, and that further research is required to address this issue.