Remote Sensing (Apr 2015)

The Effect of Topography on Target Decomposition of Polarimetric SAR Data

  • Sang-Eun Park

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 5
pp. 4997 – 5011


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Polarimetric target decomposition enables the interpretation of radar images more easily, mostly based on physical assumptions, i.e., fitting physically-based scattering models to the polarimetric SAR observations. However, the model-fitting result cannot be always successful. Particularly, the performance of model-fitting in sloping forests is still an open question. In this study, the effect of ground topography on the model-fitting-based polarimetric decomposition techniques is investigated. The estimation accuracy of each scattering component in the decomposition results are evaluated based on the simulated target matrix by using the incoherent vegetation scattering model that accounts for the tilted scattering surface beneath the forest canopy. Experimental results show that the surface and the double-bounce scattering components can be significantly misestimated due to the topographic slope, even when the volume scattering power is successfully estimated.