This paper presents a model with ellipsoidal scatterers for applications to polarimetric remote sensing of anisotropic layered media at microwave frequencies. The physical configuration includes an isotropic layer covering an anisotropic layer above a homogeneous half space. The isotropic layer consists of randomly oriented spheroids. The anisotropic layer contains ellipsoidal scatterers with a preferential vertical alignment and random azimuthal orientations. Effective permittivities of the scattering media are calculated with the strong flucutation theory extended to account for the nonspherical shapes and the scatterer orientation distributions. On the basis of the analytic wave theory, dyadic Green's functions for layered media are used to derive polarimetric backscattering coefficients under the distorted Born approximation. The ellipsoidal shape of the scatterers gives rise to nonzero cross-polarized returns from the untilted anisotropic medium in the first-order approximation. Effects of rough interfaces are estimated by an incoherent addition method. Theoretical results and experimental data are matched at 9 GHz for thick first-year sea ice with a bare surface and with a snow cover at Point Barrow, Alaska. The model is then used to study the sensitivity of polarimetric backscattering coefficients with respect to correlation lengths representing the geometry of brine inclusions. Polarimetric signatures of bare and snow-covered sea ice are also simulated based on the model to investigate effects of different scattering mechanisms.
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