Influence of Soil Moisture on the Detection of Buried Objects Using an Airborne GPSAR

For the detection of buried objects in applications such as humanitarian demining, avalanche victims localization, or archaeology, airborne systems employing ground-penetrating synthetic aperture radars were proposed in recent years. Their results, however, depend significantly on environmental factors, such as soil type and moisture. This paper shows that soil moisture and the signal-to-background ratio of targets are strongly linked. It is concluded, that for a side-looking geometry, the intrinsic attenuation of the soil and the transmittance at the boundary layer between air and soil are both significant factors. Metal targets are best detected under dry conditions.