Cryosphere Applications
Book chapter, 2021

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) provides large coverage and high resolution, and it has been proven to be sensitive to both surface and near-surface features related to accumulation, ablation, and metamorphism of snow and firn. Exploiting this sensitivity, SAR polarimetry and polarimetric interferometry found application to land ice for instance for the estimation of wave extinction (which relates to sub surface ice volume structure) and for the estimation of snow water equivalent (which relates to snow density and depth). After presenting these applications, the Chapter proceeds by reviewing applications of SAR polarimetry to sea ice for the classification of different ice types, the estimation of thickness, and the characterisation of its surface. Finally, an application to the characterisation of permafrost regions is considered. For each application, the used (model-based) decomposition and polarimetric parameters are critically described, and real data results from relevant airborne campaigns and space borne acquisitions are reported.


I. Hajnsek

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH)

G. Parrella

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

A. Marino

University of Stirling

T. Eltoft

University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway

M. Necsoiu

Southwest Research Institute

Leif Eriksson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing

M. Watanabe

Tokyo Denki University

Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing


Subject Categories


Physical Geography

Geosciences, Multidisciplinary



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