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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(11), 920;

A New Empirical Model for Radar Scattering from Bare Soil Surfaces

IRSTEA, UMR TETIS, 500 rue François Breton, F-34093 Montpellier CEDEX 5, France
CESBIO, 18 av. Edouard Belin, bpi 2801, 31401 Toulouse CEDEX 9, France
CNR-IFAC, via Madonna del Piano, 10, 50019 Florence, Italy
Laboratory of Hydrology and Water Management, Ghent University, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Global Modeling and Assimilation Office, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
CNR-ISSIA, via Amendola 122/D, 70126 Bari, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Prashant K. Srivastava, Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 26 September 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
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The objective of this paper is to propose a new semi-empirical radar backscattering model for bare soil surfaces based on the Dubois model. A wide dataset of backscattering coefficients extracted from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images and in situ soil surface parameter measurements (moisture content and roughness) is used. The retrieval of soil parameters from SAR images remains challenging because the available backscattering models have limited performances. Existing models, physical, semi-empirical, or empirical, do not allow for a reliable estimate of soil surface geophysical parameters for all surface conditions. The proposed model, developed in HH, HV, and VV polarizations, uses a formulation of radar signals based on physical principles that are validated in numerous studies. Never before has a backscattering model been built and validated on such an important dataset as the one proposed in this study. It contains a wide range of incidence angles (18°–57°) and radar wavelengths (L, C, X), well distributed, geographically, for regions with different climate conditions (humid, semi-arid, and arid sites), and involving many SAR sensors. The results show that the new model shows a very good performance for different radar wavelengths (L, C, X), incidence angles, and polarizations (RMSE of about 2 dB). This model is easy to invert and could provide a way to improve the retrieval of soil parameters. View Full-Text
Keywords: new backscattering model; Dubois model; SAR images; soil parameters new backscattering model; Dubois model; SAR images; soil parameters

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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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Baghdadi, N.; Choker, M.; Zribi, M.; Hajj, M.E.; Paloscia, S.; Verhoest, N.E.C.; Lievens, H.; Baup, F.; Mattia, F. A New Empirical Model for Radar Scattering from Bare Soil Surfaces. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 920.

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