Volume scattering modelling in PolSAR decompositions: Study of ALOS PALSAR data over boreal forest

Oleg Antropov, Yrjö Rauste, Tuomas Häme

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    117 Citations (Scopus)


    Model-based approaches for decomposing polarimetric backscatter data from boreal forest are discussed in this paper. Several model-based decompositions are analyzed with respect for the most accurate estimation of the volume scattering component. A novel generalized model for description of the volume contribution is proposed when observed backscatter from forest indicates that media does not follow azimuthal symmetry case. The model can be adjusted to the polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) data itself, taking into consideration higher sensitivity of HH against VV backscattering term to the presence of canopy at L-band. The model is general enough to allow a broad range of canopies to be modeled and is shown to comply with several earlier proposed volume scattering mechanism models. It is afterward incorporated in the Freeman-Durden three-component decomposition, yielding an improved modification. The performance of the proposed modification is evaluated using multitemporal ALOS PALSAR data acquired over Kuortane area in central Finland, representing typical mixed boreal forestland. Several decompositions are also benchmarked in order to see how they satisfy physical requirements when decomposing covariance matrix into a weighted sum of individual scattering mechanism contributions. When using experimental data, the proposed decomposition is shown to better satisfy non-negativity constraints for the covariance matrix eigenvalues at each decomposition step with less additional PolSAR data averaging needed. Discussed decompositions are also evaluated for the accuracy of initial stratification based on dominating scattering mechanism using ground reference data.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3838-3848
    Number of pages11
    JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Boreal forest
    • model-based decomposition
    • polarimetry
    • scattering mechanisms
    • synthetic aperture radar (SAR)


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