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Brightness Temperatures of Snow Melting/Refreezing Cycles: Observations and Modeling Using a Multilayer Dense Medium Theory-Based Model

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5 Author(s)
Tedesco, M. ; Goddard Earth Sci. & Technol. Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD ; Kim, E.J. ; England, A.W. ; De Roo, R.D.
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The ability of electromagnetic models to accurately predict microwave emission of a snowpack is complicated by the need to account for, among other things, nonindependent scattering by closely packed snow grains, stratigraphic variations, and the occurrence of wet snow. A multilayer dense medium model can account for the first two effects. While microwave remote sensing is well known to be capable of binary wet/dry discrimination, the ability to model brightness as a function of wetness opens up the possibility of ultimately retrieving a percentage wetness value during such hydrologically significant melting conditions. In this paper, the first application of a multilayer dense medium radiative transfer theory (DMRT) model is proposed to simulate emission from both wet and dry snow during melting and refreezing cycles. Wet snow is modeled as a mixture of ice particles surrounded by a thin film of water embedded in an air background. Melting/refreezing cycles are studied by means of brightness temperatures at 6.7, 19, and 37 GHz recorded by the University of Michigan Truck-Mounted Radiometer System at the Local Scale Observation Site during the Cold Land Processes Experiment-1 in March 2003. Input parameters to the DMRT model are obtained from snow pit measurements carried out in conjunction with the microwave observations. The comparisons between simulated and measured brightness temperatures show that the electromagnetic model is able to reproduce the brightness temperatures with an average percentage error of 3% (~8 K) and a maximum relative percentage error of around 8% (~20 K)

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 12 )