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  • Open Access
  • © 2021

Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar

Principles and Application

  • Demonstrates the benefits of the usage of fully polarimetric synthetic aperture radar data in applications of Earth remote sensing, with educational and development purposes

  • Includes numerous up-to-date examples with real data from spaceborne platforms and possibility to use a software to support lecture practicals

  • Reviews theoretical principles in an intuitive way for each application topic

  • Covers in depth five application domains (forests, agriculture, cryosphere, urban, and oceans), with reference also to hazard monitoring

Part of the book series: Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing (RDIP, volume 25)

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Table of contents (6 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xiv
  2. Basic Principles of SAR Polarimetry

    • C. López-Martínez, E. Pottier
    Pages 1-58Open Access
  3. Forest Applications

    • K. P. Papathanassiou, S. R. Cloude, M. Pardini, M. J. Quiñones, D. Hoekman, L. Ferro-Famil et al.
    Pages 59-117Open Access
  4. Agriculture and Wetland Applications

    • J. M. Lopez-Sanchez, J. D. Ballester-Berman, F. Vicente-Guijalba, S. R. Cloude, H. McNairn, J. Shang et al.
    Pages 119-178Open Access
  5. Cryosphere Applications

    • I. Hajnsek, G. Parrella, A. Marino, T. Eltoft, M. Necsoiu, L. Eriksson et al.
    Pages 179-213Open Access
  6. Urban Applications

    • E. Colin-Koeniguer, N. Trouve, Y. Yamaguchi, Y. Huang, L. Ferro-Famil, V. D. Navarro Sanchez et al.
    Pages 215-254Open Access
  7. Ocean Applications

    • M. Migliaccio, F. Nunziata, A. Marino, C. Brekke, S. Skrunes
    Pages 255-277Open Access
  8. Back Matter

    Pages 279-294

About this book

This open access book focuses on the practical application of electromagnetic polarimetry principles in Earth remote sensing with an educational purpose. In the last decade, the operations from fully polarimetric synthetic aperture radar such as  the Japanese ALOS/PalSAR, the Canadian Radarsat-2 and the German TerraSAR-X  and their easy data access for scientific use have developed further the research and data applications at L,C and X band. As a consequence, the wider distribution of polarimetric data sets across the remote sensing community boosted activity and development in polarimetric SAR applications, also in view of future missions. Numerous experiments with real data from spaceborne platforms are shown, with the aim of giving an up-to-date and complete treatment of the unique benefits of fully polarimetric synthetic aperture radar data in five different domains: forest, agriculture, cryosphere, urban and oceans.


  • Earth Remote Sensing
  • PolSARpro
  • Radar Polarimetry
  • Radar Polarimetry Toolbox
  • Synthetic Aperture Radar
  • Open Access
  • remote sensing/photogrammetry
  • urban geography and urbanism

Editors and Affiliations

  • Institute of Environmental Engineering Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Zürich, Switzerland

    Irena Hajnsek

  • Microwaves and Radar Institute German Aerospace Center (DLR), Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany

    Irena Hajnsek

  • Science, Application and Future Technology, European Space Agency, Frascati, Italy

    Yves-Louis Desnos

About the editors

Irena Hajnsek is Professor of Earth Observation and Radar Remote Sensing at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich Institute of Environmental Engineering and at the same time head of the Polarimetric SAR Interferometry research group at the German Aerospace Center Microwaves and Radar Institute. Her main research interests are in electromagnetic propagation and scattering theory, radar polarimetry, SAR and interferometric SAR data processing techniques, environmental parameter modelling and estimation. She received her Dipl. degree in 1996 from the Free University of Berlin, Germany and the Dr. degree in 2001 from the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Germany. Since 2010 she is the science coordinator of the German satellite mission TanDEM-X and proposed satellite mission Tandem-L.


Yves-Louis DESNOS is Head of the Data Applications Division in the ESA EO Programme Directorate, Frascati, Italy. He is in charge of the EO Science for Society element of the Future Earth Observation envelope programme. His current activities encompass new scientific research, developing user applications, fostering industry growth and leveraging on latest platforms technology.  He graduated as Engineer at E.S.T.A.C.A.(1982), obtained a specialisation degree in Space at E.N.S.A.E (1983) and started his career at Thomson-CSF as RADAR system engineer (1984). He joined ESA-ESTEC as RADAR engineer (1989) and was appointed ASAR principal engineer in the ENVISAT project (1996). He was chairman of CEOS WGCV SAR subgroup (1996-2000) and chairman of CEOS WGCV (2000-2003). Since 2006, he is also ESA Senior Advisor on SAR technologies and applications. In 2014, he received the P.R. China’s Friendship Award for the Dragon cooperation.

Bibliographic Information

Buy it now

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 179.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access