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Retrieving snowpack properties and accumulation estimates from a combination of SAR and scatterometer measurements

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4 Author(s)
Rotschky, G. ; Alfred Wegener Inst. for Polar & Marine Res., Bremerhaven, Germany ; Rack, W. ; Dierking, W. ; Oerter, H.

This study combines two satellite radar techniques, low-resolution C-/Ku-band scatterometer and high-resolution C-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) for glaciological studies, in particular mass-balance estimations. Three parameters expressing the mean backscattering and its dependency on azimuth and incidence angle are used to describe and classify the Antarctic ice sheets backscattering behavior. Simple linear regression analyses are carried out between ground truth accumulation data and the SAR backscattering coefficient along continuous profile lines. From this we parameterize the accumulation rate separately for certain snow pack regimes. We find that SAR data can be used to map mass-balance changes, however only within limited areas. Applying this method therefore generally requires accurate ground truth for regional calibration together with additional information regarding mean air temperature or elevation. This investigation focuses on the area of Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. We present the first high-resolution accumulation map based on SAR data for the surrounding area of the EPICA deep ice core drilling site Kohnen, which is compared to reliable ground truth records as well as to a surface-mass-balance map interpolated from these at low resolution.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 4 )