Microwave Remote Sensing


This three-day course will cover the fundamentals of passive and active microwave remote sensing and provide a summary of the information needed to understand space-based microwave remote sensing systems. The course is designed for satellite design engineers and managers who wish to understand remote sensing of the land, sea and atmosphere. The course will enhance the knowledge of both people working in the field and also provide a systems perspective for satellite engineers and instrument designers. Each topic will be illustrated using published data about current remote sensing instruments, focusing on practical working systems and issues. Passive remote sensing techniques will be emphasized. From this course you will obtain the knowledge and ability to perform basic systems engineering calculations, evaluate tradeoffs and evaluate advanced systems. Each participant will receive a complete set of notes and the textbook Microwave Remote Sensing written by the instructor.


Course Outline:

  1. Introduction to Microwave Remote Sensing — The electromagnetic spectrum. Frequency allocations. Brief history and the u.c. scale.
  2. Review of Basic Concepts — Wave propagation, polarization, reflection, refraction and penetration, microwave dielectric properties of materials (water, ice, snow, rocks, soils,and vegetation).
  3. Antenna Fundamentals — Antenna properties, basic types, gain and sidelobes, electronic scanning.
  4. Introduction to Active Remote Sensing — History of radar remote sensing, basic radar operation, types of radars, the radar equation, radar applications.
  5. Principles of Imaging Radar — Altimeters, real-aperture imagers, synthetic-aperture imagers Interferometry and Polarimetry. Basic principles of each applications and satellite programs.
  6. Introduction to Microwave Radiometry — Radiometric quantities. Thermal emission. Brightness temperature and apparent temperature. Emissivity.
  7. Radiometric Receivers — System operation, types of receivers, sensitivity and calibration.
  8. Emission Models — Surfaces, atmospheric layers and scattering albedo.
  9. Microwave Interaction with Atmospheric Constituents —Physical properties of the atmosphere. Absorption, emission, and scattering. Emission spectrum.
  10. Passive Microwave Sensing of the Atmosphere — Temperature profiling, water-vapor profiling, total water measurements, cloud water measurements and limb-sounding.
  11. Oceanographic and Land Applications — Sea-surface temperature, sea-surface salinity, sea-surface wind speed and direction, soil-moisture mapping.


This course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses. If you are interested in attending this or another course as open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or at ati@aticourses.comand indicate the course name and number of students who wish to participate. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a lead time of 3-5 months. Group courses can be presented at your facility at any time. For on-site pricing, request an on-site quote. You may also call us at (410)956-8805 or email us at ati@aticourses.com.


  • Dr. Scott Madry is president of Informatics International, Inc., an international consulting firm in Chapel Hill, NC. Dr. Madry has over 20 years experience in remote sensing and GIS applications and has conducted a variety of research and application projects in Europe, Africa, and North America. He has given over 130 short courses and seminars in over 25 countries. He is a Research Assoc. Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a member of the Faculty of The International Space University.

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