Skip to Main Content
The University of Michigan Microwave Geophysics Group participated in the Cold Lands Processes Experiment from February to April 2003 by deploying its Truck Mounted Radiometer System-3 (TMRS-3) to perform temporal monitoring of the snow pack at the local scale observation site (LSOS). The LSOS was located at the Fraser Experimental Forest headquarters in the mountains near Fraser, CO. The small clearing in which the TMRS-3 was deployed was adjacent to tall evergreen trees. To quantify the amount of the downwelling brightness from these trees onto the snow pack, the TMRS-3 periodically observed these trees. Microwave brightness data were collected from the trees every 15 from horizontal incidence to 45 from zenith. Both polarizations were observed for 6.7, 19, and 37 GHz. A rapid decrease in brightness is evident as the radiometers were pointed progressively upward. The next May, an upward-looking hemispherical (ldquofish-eyerdquo) photograph was taken from the center of the clearing, and it reveals a significant sky background through the incomplete canopy. By superimposing Gaussian approximations to the microwave antenna gain pattern of the individual TMRS-3 radiometers onto the photograph, we estimated the amount that the main beams were filled with canopy and with sky. Comparison of the measured data to that expected for a partially filled main beam indicates that the needle-leaf canopy is roughly an isotropic emitter having emissivities at frequencies between 6.7 and 37 GHz of between 0.93 and 0.97 with air temperature as a proxy for tree temperature.