In this study, the polarimetric scattering of a ship and the surrounding sea is analyzed at multiple incidence angles using fully polarimetric L-band synthetic aperture radar data. The behavior of polarized and unpolarized backscatter is analyzed using the degree of polarization, the signature of the degree of polarization, and the pedestal height. Experimental results show that, although the unpolarized backscattered power increases monotonically versus the incidence angle for both target and sea, the two scenarios call for distinctive polarimetric behaviors. The polarized component in the backscattered signal is demonstrated to be the main source of variability of the target-to-clutter ratio against the incidence angle.
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