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Diurnal thermal cycling effects on microwave signatures of thin sea ice

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9 Author(s)
Nghiem, S.V. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; Kwok, R. ; Yueh, S.H. ; Gow, A.J.
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To investigate effects of diurnal thermal cycles on C-band polarimetric backscatter and millimeter-wave emission from sea ice, the authors carried out a winter experiment at the outdoor geophysical research facility (GRF) in the cold regions research and engineering laboratory (CRREL), the ice sheet grew from open sea water to a thickness of 10 cm in 2.5 days, during which they took polarimetric backscatter data with a C-band scatterometer, interlaced with brightness temperature measurements at 90 GHz in conjunction with meteorological and sea ice characterizations. The initial ice growth in the late morning was slow due to high insolation. As the air temperature dropped during the night, the growth rate increased significantly. Air temperature changed drastically from about -12 to -36°C between day and night, the diurnal thermal cycle repeated itself the next day and the growth rate varied in the same manner. Ice temperature profiles clearly show the diurnal response in the ice sheet with a lag of 2.5 h behind the time of the maximum short-wave incident solar radiation. The diurnal cycles are also evident in the millimeter-wave brightness temperature data, measured sea ice backscatter revealed substantial diurnal variations up to 6 dB with repeatable cycles in synchronization with the temperature cycles and the brightness temperature modulations, the diurnal cycles in backscatter indicate that the dominant scattering mechanism related to thermodynamic processes in sea ice is reversible, a diurnal backscatter model based on sea ice electrodynamics and thermodynamics explains the observed diurnal signature. This work shows that diurnal effects are important for inversion algorithms to retrieve sea ice geophysical parameters from remote sensing data acquired with a satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) or scatterometer on Sun-synchronous orbits

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 1 )