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This paper presents an analysis of measurements of the normalized radar cross-section (NRCS) in vertical and horizontal polarizations over the ocean obtained from the C-band airborne radar STORM. The dataset was collected during the experiment called "Validation with a Polarimetric Airborne Radar of ENVISAT SAR over the Ocean (VALPARESO)", which took place during the calibration/validation phase of the ENVISAT Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR). From this dataset, the properties of the polarization ratio are discussed and in particular its dependencies with radar geometry (incidence and azimuth angle) as well as with meteorological conditions (wind and sea state). The polarization ratio is found to be dependent on incidence and azimuth angles. Its dependence with incidence angle is found to be significantly different from empirical models previously proposed in the literature. It also exhibits some correlation with surface conditions (wind and wave) with a more important correlation with significant wave steepness. Two new analytical formulations are proposed to model the polarization ratio, one as a function of incidence angle only, the second one with additional dependence with azimuth angle. It is shown that it is necessary to consider an azimuth-dependent polarization ratio for incidence angles larger than 30°. Comparisons with the polarization ratio from ENVISAT ASAR images are used to assess this model.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:43 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: April 2005