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The influence of cloud cover on the radiation budget, physical properties, and microwave scattering coefficient (σ°) of first-year and multiyear sea ice

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2 Author(s)
Barber, D.G. ; Dept. of Geogr., Manitoba Univ., Winnipeg, Man., Canada ; Thomas, A.

Over sea ice, the shift from predominantly clear conditions in winter to persistent stratus cloud cover in late spring and early summer coincides with a dramatic increase in the net radiation balance at the sea ice surface. Transformation of the boundary layer climate and the geophysical properties of the snow covered sea ice result from this cloud-induced rise in surface energy balance. In this paper, in situ data from the Seasonal Sea Ice Monitoring the Modeling Site (SIMMS'93) experiment are used to examine the extent to which changes in surface radiation, sea ice physical and electrical properties, and microwave scattering are a function of clear versus cloudy conditions over first-year and multiyear sea ice types. The authors use the surface observations to drive a simple forward scattering model used to diagnose the potential mechanisms responsible for the observed changes in microwave scattering by the Earth Resources Satellite-1 (ERS-1). Their results indicate that under cloudy conditions the surface temperature increases because of the surplus in the longwave net radiative energy. This causes an increase in the surface temperature and formation of a temperature wave down through the snow volume into the ice surface. This increases the dielectric constant of the snow basal layer and ice surface over first-year sea ice because of the thin snow cover (relative to the thicker multiyear ice snow cover) and because of the temperature effect on brine volume. The observed increase in scattering is limited to very smooth first-year sea ice types. Models used to diagnose the principal scattering mechanisms suggest that the cloud cover effects the scattering either by creating a dielectrically rough basal layer in the snow volume near the ice surface or by increasing the scattering contribution from snow grains within the basal layer volume. Under either scenario the increase in scattering is small (~5 dB) and is only detectable if the target presents a scattering magnitude less than about -20 dB

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