Analysis of Stable Targets in High-Resolution Polarimetric SAR Data Stacks

B. Scheuchl*
University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA

© B. Scheuchl; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

Correspondence: Address correspondence to this author at the University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA; E-mail:


Polarimetric SAR data provide information about the scattering of the area observed. The availability of data stacks allows the identification of stable targets and subsequent scattering analysis with a high degree of confidence at full resolution. A novel approach to find and evaluate polarimetric persistent target is presented, that is an extension of well-established analysis methods for single scenes. The use of the Cloude-Pottier distributed target decomposition analysis applied on the temporal averages (as opposed to spatial averaging), combined with a Cameron point target analysis applied on each layer separately to select pixels only, provides an efficient scattering classification of polarimetric persistent point targets in the stack. This method can also be used to analyze targets identified through other means, albeit at a lower degree of confidence. The approach retains the full resolution of the data set, though temporal changes between acquisitions add additional complexity. Result interpretation is therefore performed under consideration of a set of boundary conditions. Results from the analysis of two polarimetric data stacks acquired by RADARSAT-2 are shown.

Keywords: Data stack, Entropy, Polarimetric persistence, SAR polarimetry, Target decomposition, Time series.