A Generalised Radar Backscattering Model Based on Wave Theory for Multilayer Multispecies Vegetation

Mariko Burgin, Daniel Clewley, Richard Maxwell Lucas, Mahta Moghaddam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (SciVal)


A generalized radar scattering model based on wave theory is described. The model predicts polarimetric radar backscattering coefficients for structurally complex vegetation comprised of multiple species and layers. Compared to conventional two-layer crown-trunk models, modeling of actual forests has been improved substantially, allowing better understanding of microwave interaction with vegetation. The model generalizes an existing single-species discrete scatterer model and, by including scattering and propagation effects through judiciously defined vegetation layers, enables its application to an arbitrary number of species types. The scatterers within each layer are modeled as finite cylinders or disks having arbitrary size, density, and orientation, as in the predecessor model. The distorted Born approximation is used to represent the propagation through each layer, while scattering from each is modeled as a linear superposition of scattering from its respective random collection of scatterers. Interactions of waves within and between each layer and direct scattering from the ground are accounted for. Validation of the model is presented based on its application to 23 wooded savanna sites located in Queensland, Australia, and comparison with Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) Phased Arrayed L-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (PALSAR) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (AIRSAR) data. Results indicate good agreement between simulated and actual backscattering coefficients, particularly at HH and VV polarizations. More discrepancies are found at HV polarizations and can be explained by uncertainties in the knowledge of input parameters, such as inaccuracies in the surface model, surface roughness parameterization, and soil moisture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4832-4845
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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