SAR pre-processing

SAR image Incidence angle Normalization for oceanogrpafic applications

We proposed a methodological framework to correct the difference of normalized radar cross section on wide swath SAR images.

A backscattering trend in the range direction of the signal received by Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in Wide Swath (WS) mode results in a progressive reduction of brightness over images from near to far range, which affects the detection and classification of sea surface features on wide swath SAR images. The aim of the present work is to investigate methods for limiting the issue of Normalized Radar Cross-Section (NRCS or σ0) variation due to the incidence angle. Two sensor independent functions are investigated: a theoretical backscattering shape function derived from a minimum wind speed and an empirical range fit of NRCS against incidence angle θ. The former method exploits only the modeled NRCS values while the latter only the image content. The results compared with the squared cosine correction, the most widely applied method for normalization, using six newly developed comparison factors.

The results showed that the cosine squared normalization has the lowest efficiency while the proposed methods have similar behaviors and comparable results. Nevertheless, after the log-transformation and summation of the comparison factors, it was clearly shown that theoretical normalization performance is superior to the empirical one since it has the highest accuracy and requires less computational time.


Topouzelis K., Kitsiou D. & Singha, S., 2016, Incidence angle Normalization of Wide Swath SAR Data for Oceanographic Applications. Open Geosciences, 8(1), pp. 450-464. (open access) doi:10.1515/geo-2016-0029