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Multibaseline Polarimetric SAR Tomography of a Boreal Forest at P- and L-Bands

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2 Author(s)
Tebaldini, S. ; Dipt. di Elettron. ed Inf., Politec. di Milano, Milan, Italy ; Rocca, F.

Longer wavelength synthetic aperture radars (SARs) are precious in the remote sensing of forested areas, being sensitive to contributions from the whole vegetation layer and from the ground below. The electromagnetic properties of such contributions are retrieved from multipolarimetric acquisitions, whereas their vertical structure is retrieved from multibaseline acquisitions through tomographic imaging. Combining baseline and polarization diversity provides most information, allowing the decomposition of the SAR signal into ground- and volume-only contributions. A formal treatment of this problem is provided with the algebraic synthesis technique, which extends the concepts of PolInSAR. The decomposition, however, is shown to be ambiguous in that different solutions are equally consistent with the data. The main goal of this paper is to discuss this topic in light of the experimental results from a tomographic and polarimetric analysis of the boreal forest within the Krycklan River catchment, Northern Sweden, investigated at P- and L-bands during the ESA campaign BioSAR 2008. Different solutions to the decomposition problem will be discussed by examining the corresponding vertical structures accessible through tomographic techniques. Elements are shown supporting the idea that ground-volume interactions play a nonnegligible role at P-band, and a solution is proposed to isolate contributions from direct volume backscattering. The retrieval of forest top height is discussed as well, leading to the conclusion that such parameter is robust against erroneous choices in the identification of volume-only contributions, thus corroborating the PolInSAR approach for the analysis of single-baseline data.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 1 )