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Estimating Snow Accumulation From InSAR Correlation Observations

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2 Author(s)
Oveisgharan, S. ; Dept. of Electr. Eng., Stanford Univ., CA ; Zebker, H.A.

Snow accumulation in remote regions, such as Greenland and Antarctica, is a key factor for estimating the Earth's ice mass balance. In situ data are sparse; hence, they are useful to derive snow accumulation from remote sensing observations, such as microwave thermal emission and radar brightness. These data are usually interpreted using electromagnetic models in which volume scattering is the dominant mechanism. The main limitation of this approach is that microwave brightness is not well related to backscatter if the ice sheet is layered. Because larger grain size and thicker annual layers both increase radar image brightness, with the first corresponding to lower accumulation rate and the second to higher accumulation rate, models of radar brightness alone cannot accurately reflect accumulation. Consideration of correlation measurements can also resolve this ambiguity. We introduce an interferometric ice scattering model that relates the interferometric synthetic aperture radar correlation and radar brightness to both ice grain size and hoar layer spacing in the dry-snow zone of Greenland. We use this model and the European Remote Sensing satellite radar observations to derive several parameters related to snow accumulation rates in a small area in the dry-snow zone. These parameters show agreement with four in situ core accumulation rate measurements in this area, whereas models using only radar brightness data do not match the observed variation in accumulation rates

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:45 ,  Issue: 1 )