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A Comparison of Airborne Microwave Brightness Temperatures and Snowpack Properties Across the Boreal Forests of Finland and Western Canada

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10 Author(s)
Juha Lemmetyinen ; Dept. of Radio Sci. & Eng., Helsinki Univ. of Technol., Espoo ; Chris Derksen ; Jouni Pulliainen ; Walter Strapp
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The seasonal snowpack across the boreal forest is an important national resource in both Canada and Finland, contributing freshwater for agriculture, human consumption, and hydropower generation. In both countries, satellite passive microwave data are utilized to provide operational information on snow depth and snow water equivalent (SWE) throughout the snow cover season. Airborne passive microwave surveys conducted independently across Finland and western Canada during March and April 2005 and March 2006 provided the opportunity to assess the level of similarity in snowpack physical properties and brightness temperature response to snowpack qualities using two independent data sets. The primary objectives of these campaigns were to determine the influence of small-scale heterogeneity on satellite data, using relatively high resolution airborne measurements, and to assess the Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) snow emission model capability of predicting emitted brightness temperatures under varying snowpack and landscape conditions. Comparisons of brightness temperature emissions over different land cover types showed a clear distinction of wetlands and snow-covered ice from forested and open areas. This is reflected also as a strong relationship between 6.9-GHz measurements and fractional lake cover in both Canada and Finland, with relationships at 18 and 37 GHz being less consistent between data sets. Comparisons of experimental data versus HUT snow emission model predictions showed relatively good agreement between the simulations and airborne data, specifically for the Finnish data set.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:47 ,  Issue: 3 )