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Estimate of Phase Transition Water Content in Freeze–Thaw Process Using Microwave Radiometer

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4 Author(s)
Lixin Zhang ; Sch. of Geogr. & Remote Sensing Sci., Beijing Normal Univ., Beijing, China ; Tianjie Zhao ; Lingmei Jiang ; Shaojie Zhao

Ground surface freeze-thaw cycles caused by changes in solar radiation have a great impact on soil-air water heat exchanges due to the phase transition of pore water. This influence should not be ignored in the land surface process and global environment change studies because of its large extent and the rapid changes in daily and seasonal frozen ground. The key index for evaluating the influence intensity is the content of water-ice phase transition in soil pores at the ground surface. In this paper, a data set was generated by observing field experiments and physical model simulations based on the configuration of the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-EOS (AMSR-E). The results showed that microwave radiation from freezing/thawing soil has an obvious correlation to the phase transition process of soil water. A large change in soil surface emissivity was shown after the freezing of soil. The magnitude of the difference in emissivity change is strongly related to the amount of water-ice phase transition. It can be shown that the higher the phase transition water content (PTWC), the greater the emissivity difference, and the higher the frequency, the smaller the emissivity difference. Based on an analysis of a large amount of random simulation data, an interesting characteristic was found, in that the emissivity difference in vertical polarization at each frequency is nearly proportional to the phase transition water content. Thus, a ratio index called Quasi-emissivity (Qe) was developed to eliminate temperature effects during retrieval. Using these clear rules, a physical statistical algorithm was put forth to estimate the phase transition water content. Finally, the inferred results by ground-based radiometer observation were compared with the ground truth. A satisfying agreement was achieved with a root mean square error of 0.0265 (v/v). This indicated that the microwave radiometer has a great potential in the measurement of PTWC.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:48 ,  Issue: 12 )