Geophysical media are usually heterogeneous and contain multiple species of scatterers. In this paper a model is presented to calculate effective permittivities and polarimetric backscattering coefficients of multispecies-layered media. The same physical description is consistently used in the derivation of both permittivities and scattering coefficients. The strong permittivity fluctuation theory is extended to account for the multiple species of scatterers with a general ellipsoidal shape whose orientations are randomly distributed. Under the distorted Born approximation, polarimetric scattering coefficients are obtained. These calculations are applicable to the special cases of spheroidal and spherical scatterers. The model is used to study effects of scatterer shapes and multispecies mixtures on polarimetric signatures of heterogeneous media. The multispecies model accounts for moisture content in scattering media such as snowpack in an ice sheet. The results indicate a high sensitivity of backscatter to moisture with a stronger dependence for drier snow and ice grain size is important to the backscatter. For frost-covered saline ice, model results for bare ice are compared with measured data at C band and then the frost flower formation is simulated with a layer of fanlike ice crystals including brine infiltration over a rough interface. The results with the frost cover suggest a significant increase in scattering coefficients and a polarimetric signature closer to isotropic characteristics compared to the thin saline ice case.
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