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A Multiple-Scattering Microwave Radiative Transfer Model for Land Emission with Vertically Heterogeneous Vegetation Coverage
  • Kaiqi Chen ,
  • Shurun Tan
Kaiqi Chen

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Shurun Tan


A multiple scattering model for passive radiative transfer (RT) in vegetation that accounts for the vertical profile of the plant structure is developed, offering advancements over the commonly-used single-layer uniform scattering models prevalent in the vegetated land surface microwave remote sensing. The proposed model takes into account the complexities of the canopy morphology with vertical heterogeneity, enabling the representation of overlapping vegetation species applicable to diverse plant types and growth stages. Additionally, it serves as a valuable tool for understanding the influence of the vegetation vertical structure on the microwave brightness temperatures. The model is constructed based on high-order solutions to the RT equations, obtained through a numerical iterative approach with an efficient interpolation scheme for algorithm acceleration. This methodology facilitates the accurate distinction of the contributions to the brightness temperature from each scattering order and scattering mechanism, ensuring a comprehensive consideration of multiple scattering effects within various vegetated scenarios. The model is validated using the SMAPVEX12 L-band forest data set, encompassing a wide range of soil moisture variations. Comparisons are made between the brightness temperatures simulated by the newly developed multiple-scattering model with a continuous profile or layered profile and those obtained from a uniform single-layer model. Results demonstrate significant improvements in the multi-layered or the continuously profiled model, showing improved agreement with the measured brightness temperatures. Furthermore, the proposed model is parameterized by matching the high-order solutions to the RT equation to the widely adopted reduced order albedo-tau formalism. The resulting equivalent parameters are linked to the geometries and the electromagnetic properties of the vegetation layer, while also incorporating the effects of multiple scattering. Comparative analysis of the equivalent parameters derived from the layered model and those derived from the single-layer model reveals that the vertical heterogeneity of the vegetation structure has a notable influence on the effective scattering albedo and it yields a value more consistent with the albedo as chosen in the SMAP/SMOS inversion algorithms. Meanwhile, the impact of the vegetation vertical profile on the effective optical thickness and the effective transmissivity of the vegetation layer is weak.
These insights are essential for the retrieval of soil moisture and vegetation characteristics including the plant vertical structures in microwave remote sensing.
25 Jan 2024Submitted to TechRxiv
29 Jan 2024Published in TechRxiv