Sensors to remotely measure the linear polarization of ground scenes have been proposed for the Multispectral Resource Sampler (MRS), a satellite sensor system proposed to compliment the Thematic Mapper. At present justification for a sensor on MRS to measure scene polarization is limited. This paper discusses a model for the amount of linearly polarized light reflected by the shiny leaves of such crops as wheat, corn, and sorghum. The theory demonstrates that, potentially, measurements of the linearly polarized light from a crop canopy may be used as an additional feature to discriminate between crops. Examination of the model suggests that, potentially, satellite polarization measurements may be used to monitor crop development stage, leaf water content, leaf area index, hail damage, and certain plant diseases. The model adds to our understanding of the potential information content of scene polarization measurements acquired by future satellite sensor systems such as MRS.

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