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A Comparison of Snow Depth on Sea Ice Retrievals Using Airborne Altimeters and an AMSR-E Simulator

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12 Author(s)
Cavalieri, D.J. ; D.J. Cavalieri, Sandy Spring, UT, USA ; Markus, T. ; Ivanoff, A. ; Miller, J.A.
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A comparison of snow depths on sea ice was made using airborne altimeters and an Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) simulator. The data were collected during the March 2006 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Arctic field campaign utilizing the NASA P-3B aircraft. The campaign consisted of an initial series of coordinated surface and aircraft measurements over Elson Lagoon, Alaska and adjacent seas followed by a series of large-scale (100 km × 50 km) coordinated aircraft and AMSR-E snow depth measurements over portions of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. This paper focuses on the latter part of the campaign. The P-3B aircraft carried the University of Colorado Polarimetric Scanning Radiometer (PSR-A), the NASA Wallops Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM) lidar altimeter, and the University of Kansas Delay-Doppler (D2P) radar altimeter. The PSR-A was used as an AMSR-E simulator, whereas the ATM and D2P altimeters were used in combination to provide an independent estimate of snow depth. Results of a comparison between the altimeter-derived snow depths and the equivalent AMSR-E snow depths using PSR-A brightness temperatures calibrated relative to AMSR-E are presented. Data collected over a frozen coastal polynya were used to intercalibrate the ATM and D2P altimeters before estimating an altimeter snow depth. Results show that the mean difference between the PSR and altimeter snow depths is -2.4 cm (PSR minus altimeter) with a standard deviation of 7.7 cm. The RMS difference is 8.0 cm. The overall correlation between the two snow depth data sets is 0.59.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 8 )