Introduction to Microwave Remote Sensing  book cover
1st Edition

Introduction to Microwave Remote Sensing

ISBN 9780415271233
Published November 2, 2005 by CRC Press
400 Pages 87 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Introduction to Microwave Remote Sensing offers an extensive overview of this versatile and extremely precise technology for technically oriented undergraduates and graduate students.

This textbook emphasizes an important shift in conceptualization and directs it toward students with prior knowledge of optical remote sensing: the author dispels any linkage between microwave and optical remote sensing. Instead, he constructs the concept of microwave remote sensing by comparing it to the process of audio perception, explaining the workings of the ear as a metaphor for microwave instrumentation.

This volume takes an “application-driven” approach. Instead of describing the technology and then its uses, this textbook justifies the need for measurement then explains how microwave technology addresses this need.

Following a brief summary of the field and a history of the use of microwaves, the book explores the physical properties of microwaves and the polarimetric properties of electromagnetic waves. It examines the interaction of microwaves with matter, analyzes passive atmospheric and passive surface measurements, and describes the operation of altimeters and scatterometers. The textbook concludes by explaining how high resolution images are created using radars, and how techniques of interferometry can be applied to both passive and active sensors.

Table of Contents


Overview of Microwave Systems

Information from Passive Microwave Imagers
Information from Passive Microwave Sounders
Information from Active Microwave Instruments
How Can This Information be Used?


In the Beginning

Out of the Darkness: Maxwell and Hertz

Radios, Death Rays and Radar

The Venus Ruler and Little Green Men

Imaging Radar

Microwave Remote Sensing from Space

Further Reading


Physical Properties of EM Waves

Electromagnetic Radiation as Waves
Complex Wave Description

Energy and Power of Waves


Combination of Waves


The Most Important Section in This Book

Phase as a (Relative) Distance Measure
Combining Two Waves in 2-D
Quantifying the Interference Pattern
Passive Case
Multiple Source Interference Pattern
Beamwidth and Angular Resolution
Huygens’ Wavelets
More on Coherence

Propagation of Microwaves

Through Lossy Media
Moving Sources

Where Do Microwaves Come From?

How Are They Produced in Nature?
Radiation Laws
How Are Microwaves Produced Artificially?

Further Reading


Describing Polarised Waves

Summary of Linear Basis

Superposition of Polarised Waves

Representing Polarisation

Poincaré sphere
Mathematical Description
Stokes Vector
Brightness Stokes Vector
Partially Polarised Waves
The Stokes Scattering Matrix
The Scattering Matrix
Target Vector
Covariance Matrix

Passive Polarimetry

Polarimetry in Radar

Radar Polarimeters
Polarimetric Synthesis and Response Curves

Important Polarimetric Properties

Unpolarised Power
Degree of Polarisation and Coefficient of Variation
Polarimetric Ratios
Coherent Parameters
Polarimetric Decomposition

Further Reading


Continuous Media and the Atmosphere

Radiative Transfer Theory
Microwave Brightness Temperature
Spectral Lines
Line Broadening
Faraday Rotation

Interaction With Discrete Objects

Importance of Diffraction
Radar Cross-section
Importance of Scattering Theory

Scattering and Emission from Volumes

Transmission Through Volumes

Reflection and Emission from Smooth Surfaces

Scattering from Smooth Boundaries
Emission from Smooth Boundaries

Scattering and Emission from Rough Surfaces

Definition of “Rough”
Effects of Roughness

Non-Random (Periodic) Surfaces

Scattering and Emission from Natural Surfaces

Oceans and Lakes
Ice and Snow
Freshwater Ice
Glacial Ice
Sea Ice
Bare Rock and Deserts

Special Scatterers

Corner Reflectors
Moving Targets
Mixed Targets

Further Reading


General Approach

Conceptual Approach to Microwave Systems

A Word of Warning

Basic Microwave Radiometer

The Antenna

Parabolic Antennas
The Dipole Antenna
Array Antennas
Antenna Properties

The Receiver


Coherent Systems

Active Systems

System Performance

Noise and Sensitivity
Sensitivity Considerations for Receivers
Other Sources of Uncertainty


Antenna Calibration
Verification and Validation
Types of Calibration
Strategies for Calibrating Receivers

Final Remarks on Calibration

Further Reading


Atmospheric Sounding

The Need for Measurements
The Earth’s Atmosphere
Water Vapour and Oxygen
Clouds and Precipitation
Chlorine Monoxide
Other Relevant Measurements

Principles of Measurement

Theoretical Basis of Sounding

The Forward Model
Simple Formulation of the Forward Model
The Inverse Model
Solving the Inverse Problem
The Influence Functions

Viewing Geometries

Nadir Sounding
Limb Sounding

Passive Rainfall Mapping

The Need for Measurements
Principles of Measurement
Emission Method
Scattering Method

Further Reading


Principles of Measurement

Practical Radiometers
Viewing Geometries
The Generic Forward Model


The Need for Measurements
Principles of Measurement: SST
Principles of Measurement: Ocean Salinity
Principles of Measurement: Ocean Winds

Sea Ice

The Need for Measurements
Sea Ice Concentration


The Need for Measurements
The Forward Problem Over Land
Empirical Approaches to Snow Depth
A Final Comment on Passive Polarimetry

Further Reading


Principles of Measurement

What is RADAR?
Basic Radar Operation

The Generic Equations of Radar Performance

The Radar Equation
Range resolution

Radar Altimeters

The Need for Altimeter Measurements
Altimeter Geometry
Echo Shape Analysis
Range Ambiguity
Accuracy of Height Retrievals
Scanning Altimeters
Calibration and Validation

Improving Directionality

Sub-Beamwidth Resolution
Synthetic Aperture Altimeters


The Need for Scatterometer Measurements
General Operation
Rain Radar
Polarimetric Scatterometers

Further Reading


The Need for Imaging Radar

Sea Ice
Terrestrial Surfaces
The Water Cloud Model for Vegetation
Other Uses of Radar Imagery

What is an Image?

Radar Image Construction

Side-Looking Airborne Radar

Ground Range resolution
Azimuth Resolution
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)
Aperture Synthesis: A Doppler Interpretation
Aperture Synthesis: A Geometric Explanation
Geometry vs. Doppler
SAR Focussing

Radar Equation for SAR

Geometric Distortions in Radar Images

Lay-over and Foreshortening
Radar Shadow
Motion Errors
Moving Targets

Operational Limits

Coverage vs PRF

Other SAR Modes

ScanSAR Operation
Spotlight Mode

Working With SAR Images

Speckle Statistics
Speckle Filtering
Geometric Correction
Limitations of Geometric Correction

SAR Data Formats

Extracting Topography from SAR Images

Stereo SAR Radargrammetry
SAR Clinometry

Further Reading


The Need for Interferometric Measurements

Principles of Interferometry

Phase Measurements
Application of Dual Systems
Interferometry for Resolving Direction

Passive Imaging Interferometry

Radar Interferometry

Interferometric Altimetry
Interferometric SAR
InSAR Viewing Geometries
Interferometric Coherence Magnitude
Summary of Decorrelation

Practical DEM Generation

InSAR Processing Chain

Vegetation Height Estimation

Single Frequency
Polarimetric Interferometry and Multibaseline
SAR Tomography

Differential SAR Interferometry

Considerations and Limitations
Atmospheric Water Vapour

Permanent Scatterer Interferometry

Along-Track Interferometry

Further Reading

APPENDIX: Summary of Useful



Steradian (solid angle)

Some Useful Trigonometric Relations

Logs and Exponentials

Some Fundamental Properties
Special values
Series Expansions

Complex Numbers


Law of Vector Algebra
Cross or Vector Product


Matrix Algebra

View More


“This book can serve as a textbook for graduate students on the properties of microwaves and how they can be used to study the Earth, and also as a good reference for remote sensing scientists and engineers who would like a convenient summary of relevant electromagnetic gathered in a single volume. … This book fills an important niche between classical electromagnetic textbooks and detailed application manuals, giving an appreciation of how microwave remote sensing relates discipline science to the fundamentals of radio wave propagation. … The book stands out as a worthy general text that is ideally suited for introductory coursework o tot serve as an advanced reference. This book should find its way onto many desks and bookshelves belonging to remote sensing professionals and future remote sensing professionals.”
—In PE&RS, Vol. 73, No. 7, July 2007