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WindSat has provided an opportunity to investigate the first spaceborne passive fully polarimetric observations of the Earth's surface. In this paper, Arctic sea ice was investigated. The passive polarimetric data are provided in the form of the modified Stokes vector consisting of four parameters. The first two components of the modified Stokes vector are the vertically and horizontally polarized brightness temperatures, which have been continuously measured by various radiometers over the last three decades. The third and fourth Stokes components provide in formation on the degree of polarization of the emission. In this paper, three types of analysis are carried out: spatial (maps considering different azimuth angle intervals), temporal (time series of daily averaged Stokes components over a small selected azimuth angle range), and azimuthal (variations w.r.t. the azimuth angle over selected study areas). Analysis has shown the highest brightness temperature variations for the 37-GHz third Stokes component (>; 2 K) during summer. The next highest signals were observed for the 10.7-GHz third and fourth Stokes components (>; 1 K) during summer as well. The 37-GHz fourth Stokes component exhibited the least variability (>; 1 K). Spikes of up to 2 K were identified in the time series of the 37-GHz third Stokes component during mid-January 2004 (winter) over first-year ice regions. The near-surface air temperature of the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model data and the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager National Aeronautics and Space Administration Team ice concentrations revealed that, during these events, the surface temperatures reached near melting levels and the retrieved ice concentrations were reduced to about 80%. Moreover, these observations also showed clear evidence of first harmonic azimuthal dependence. Geophysical parameters, such as temperature and ice leads, are likely to be the causes. The larger signals which occurred d uring summer were identified as being related to the ice surface temperatures being near melting.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:49 , Issue: 5 )
Date of Publication: May 2011