Radar bBackscattering sensitivity to soil moisture content of sugar beet fields

G. Schoups, P. A. Troch, N. Verhoest

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The objective of this paper is to investigate the possibility of soil moisture retrieval from radar backscatter data in sugar beet fields. The analysis is based on a simulation study using two models capable of computing electromagnetic backscattering from a vegetated surface, viz. the model developed by Karam et al. and the model developed by Lang. First, we validate the models based on data from the AGRISCATT'88 field campaign, held in Flevoland, The Netherlands. The data collected during this campaign allows us to test the model predictions under different soil surface and canopy conditions and for different radar configurations. In general, both models are capable of mimicing the change in backscattering due changes in radar configuration and surface-vegetation characteristics. Next, both models are subjected to a sensitivity analysis with respect to different surface and canopy parameters. Based on this sensitivity analysis it is concluded that estimates of surface soil moisture content under a medium sugar beet cover (15 cm high crop) from L-band radar observations is only possible within 10% accuracy. For a fully developed sugar beet field (50 cm high crop), soil moisture retrieval is not possible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-142
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 1997
EventEarth Surface Remote Sensing - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Sep 22 1997Sep 22 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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