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Jagdhuber, Thomas; Stockamp, Julia; Hajnsek, Irena and Ludwig, Ralf (March 2014): Identification of Soil Freezing and Thawing States Using SAR Polarimetry at C-Band. In: Remote Sensing, Vol. 6, No. 3: pp. 2008-2023 [PDF, 1MB]

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The monitoring of soil freezing and thawing states over large areas is very challenging on ground. In order to investigate the potential and the limitations of space-borne SAR polarimetry at C-band for soil state survey, analyses were conducted on an entire winter time series of fully polarimetric RADARSAT-2 data from 2011/2012 to identify freezing as well as thawing states within the soil. The polarimetric data were acquired over the Sodankyla test site in Finland together with in situ measurements of the soil and the snow cover. The analyses indicate clearly that the dynamics of the polarimetric entropy and mean scattering alpha angle are directly correlated to soil freezing and thawing states, even under distinct dry snow cover. First modeling attempts using the Extended Bragg soil scattering model justify the observed trends, which indicate surface-like scattering during frozen soil conditions and multiple/volume scattering for thawed soils. Hence, these first investigations at C-band foster motivation to work towards a robust polarimetric detection of soil freezing and thawing states as well as their transition phase.

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