Untangling the incoherent and coherent scattering components in GNSS-R and novel applications

Joan Francesc Munoz-Martin, Raul Onrubia, Daniel Pascual, Hyuk Park, Adriano Camps, Christoph Rüdiger, Jeffrey Walker, Alessandra Monerris

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18 Citations (Scopus)


As opposed to monostatic radars where incoherent backscattering dominates, in bistatic radars, such as Global Navigation Satellite Systems Reflectometry (GNSS-R), the forward scattered signals exhibit both an incoherent and a coherent component. Current models assume that either one or the other are dominant, and the calibration and geophysical parameter retrieval (e.g., wind speed, soil moisture, etc.) are developed accordingly. Even the presence of the coherent component of a GNSS reflected signal itself has been a matter of discussion in the last years. In this work, a method developed to separate the leakage of the direct signal in the reflected one is applied to a data set of GNSS-R signals collected over the ocean by the Microwave Interferometer Reflectometer (MIR) instrument, an airborne dual-band (L1/E1 and L5/E5a), multi-constellation (GPS and Galileo) GNSS-R instrument with two 19-elements antenna arrays with 4 beam-steered each. The presented results demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed technique to untangle the coherent and incoherent components from the total power waveform in GNSS reflected signals. This technique allows the processing of these components separately, which increases the calibration accuracy (as today both are mixed and processed together), allowing higher resolution applications since the spatial resolution of the coherent component is determined by the size of the first Fresnel zone (300-500 meters from a LEO satellite), and not by the size of the glistening zone (25 km from a LEO satellite). The identification of the coherent component enhances also the location of the specular reflection point by determining the peak maximum from this coherent component rather than the point of maximum derivative of the incoherent one, which is normally noisy and it is blurred by all the glistening zone contributions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1208
Number of pages17
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Coherent scattering
  • GNSS-R
  • Incoherent scattering
  • Sea

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