In this paper, heterogeneous clutter models are used to describe polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) data. The KummerU distribution is introduced to model the PolSAR clutter. Then, a detailed analysis is carried out to evaluate the potential of this new multivariate distribution. It is implemented in a hierarchical maximum likelihood segmentation algorithm. The segmentation results are shown on both synthetic and high-resolution PolSAR data at the X- and L-bands. Finally, some methods are examined to determine automatically the “optimal” number of segments in the final partition.
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