Using a LiDAR Vegetation Model to Predict UHF SAR Attenuation in Coniferous Forests

Swanson, A., Huang, S. and Crabtree, R.L.

Sensors, Vol. 9 Issue 3 pp. 1559-1573


Attenuation of radar signals by vegetation can be a problem for target detection and GPS reception, and is an important parameter in models describing vegetation backscatter. Here we first present a model describing the 3D distribution of stem and foliage structure based on small footprint scanning LIDAR data. Secondly we present a model that uses ray-tracing methodology to record detailed interactions between simulated radar beams and vegetation components. These interactions are combined over the SAR aperture and used to predict two-way attenuation of the SAR signal. Accuracy of the model is demonstrated using UHF SAR observations of large trihedral corner reflectors in coniferous forest stands. Our study showed that the model explains between 66% and 81% of the variability in observed attenuation.

Patrick Cross2009