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Microwave L-band emission of freezing soil

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6 Author(s)
M. Schwank ; Inst. of Terrestrial Ecology, ETH Zurich, Schlieren, Switzerland ; M. Stahli ; H. Wydler ; J. Leuenberger
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We report on field-measured microwave emission in a period of frost penetration into a grassland soil. The measurements were recorded with a high temporal resolution using an L-band radiometer mounted on a 7-m high tower. The observation period (December 2002 to March 2003) included two cycles of soil freezing and thawing with maximum frost depth of 25 cm. In situ soil temperature and liquid water content were measured at five depths down to 45 cm. Soil moisture profiles were calculated using the COUP numerical soil water and heat model in combination with measured soil properties and meteorological data monitored at the site. The L-band radiation data clearly showed the penetration and thawing of seasonal soil frost. We calculated soil reflectivities based on in situ measured and modeled soil moisture profiles by applying a coherent radiative transfer model. The calculated reflectivities were compared with the radiometrically determined soil reflectivities. It was demonstrated that the quantitative consistency between these reflectivities was significantly improved by applying an impedance matching approach accounting for surface effects. In this particular case, the dielectric structure of the uppermost soil horizon was largely influenced by soil roughness, vegetation, and snow cover. The radiometrically measured soil reflectivities were fitted using a radiative transfer model in combination with a roughness model assuming a soil surface roughness of 25 mm. The analysis during a period of frost penetration shows coherent behavior of the soil reflectivity. Temporal oscillation of the measured L-band radiation appears to be a coherent effect. This effect has the potential to be used for estimating the frost penetration velocity.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 6 )