The theoretical behavior of nadir specular and diffuse radar backscattering from rough terrain is re-examined. Terrain is modeled as a random rough surface in the Kirchhoff approximation. The relative significance of specular (coherent) and diffuse (noncoherent) radar backscatter is compared in terms of the antenna system parameters (beamwidth, height, and frequency) and rough surface statistics. It has been found that in case of a high-altitude (space or airborne) radar, the ratio between coherent and noncoherent terrain backscatter is independent of its altitude of the radar platform. A possible explanation is suggested for the anomalous radar backscatter observed in the Skylab S-193 altimeter experiment.