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Assessing the influence of vegetation cover on soil-moisture signatures in fire-disturbed boreal forests in interior Alaska: modelled results

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A microwave backscattering model for shrub clumps was presented. The modelling approach was to treat the clumps as scatterers and attenuators. Three major model components were defined: surface backscattering, clump volume scattering, and multiple path interactions between clumps and ground. Total backscatter was computed by incoherent summation of the components. We then used the model to study the effects of variations in surface and willow properties (soil moisture content, and surface roughness rms height and correlation length, and willow ground coverage, clump height, and stem density) on backscatter from willows in Alaskan boreal forest region. We examined the sensitivity to variations of the six parameters combined and to variation of each parameter alone from willows of three clump sizes representing different stages of vegetation regrowth after fire. Modelled C-band backscatter was more sensitive to the variations of the surface and willow parameters than L-band backscatter at incidence angles between 20° and 60°. At incidence angles of 20-60°, C-HH and C-VV backscatter was sensitive to the variations of the three surface parameters. L-HV and L-VV backscatter were only sensitive to the moisture variation. Among the three willow parameters, change of willow ground coverage produced more sensitive cases than variations of clump height and stem density combined at C- and L-band.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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