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Sensors 2009, 9(3), 1559-1573; doi:10.3390/s90301559
Article

Using a LIDAR Vegetation Model to Predict UHF SAR Attenuation in Coniferous Forests

1,* , 1, 2
 and 1
1 Yellowstone Ecological Research Center, 2048 Analysis Drive, Suite B, Bozeman, MT 59718, USA 2 NASA Ames Research Center Mail Stop 242-4, Moffett Field, CA 94035 USA;
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 December 2008 / Revised: 23 January 2009 / Accepted: 5 March 2009 / Published: 6 March 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR))
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Abstract

Attenuation of radar signals by vegetation can be a problem for target detection and GPS reception, and is an important parameter in models describing vegetation backscatter. Here we first present a model describing the 3D distribution of stem and foliage structure based on small footprint scanning LIDAR data. Secondly we present a model that uses ray-tracing methodology to record detailed interactions between simulated radar beams and vegetation components. These interactions are combined over the SAR aperture and used to predict two-way attenuation of the SAR signal. Accuracy of the model is demonstrated using UHF SAR observations of large trihedral corner reflectors in coniferous forest stands. Our study showed that the model explains between 66% and 81% of the variability in observed attenuation.
Keywords: SAR; Lidar; Forest; Attenuation SAR; Lidar; Forest; Attenuation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Swanson, A.; Huang, S.; Crabtree, R. Using a LIDAR Vegetation Model to Predict UHF SAR Attenuation in Coniferous Forests. Sensors 2009, 9, 1559-1573.

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