Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing

2014 Edition
| Editors: Eni G. Njoku

Radiative Transfer, Theory

  • Frank S. MarzanoEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-36699-9_152


The radiative transfer theory, also called transport theory, is the theory describing the wave propagation through a medium characterized by a random distribution of scatterers. It usually applies to electromagnetic radiation, but it can be generalized to acoustic radiation. The radiative transfer theory is one of the two theories developed to deal with radiation absorption and multiple-scattering problems: the other approach is the so-called wave analytical theory. It is generally formulated in terms of specific intensity and can be extended to polarized radiation. The radiative transfer theory constitutes the physical basis of several remote sensing techniques due to its relative simplicity and capability to deal with multiple-scattering effects.


The subject of radiative transfer is very transversal and, indeed, covers several research fields, including astrophysics, applied physics, optics, planetary sciences, atmospheric sciences, meteorology, and...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information EngineeringSapienza University of RomeRomeJapan
  2. 2.Centre of Excellence CETEMPSUniversity of L’AquilaL’AquilaJapan