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Metamorphic signature of snow revealed in SSM/I measurements

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2 Author(s)
Rosenfeld, S. ; NOAA, Camp Springs, MD, USA ; Grody, N.C.

Brightness temperatures (19, 22, 37, 85 GHz) measured by the special sensor microwave/imager (SSM/I) are analyzed using data from the snow monitoring network within the former Soviet Union during the 1987-1988 winter period. It is shown that in the beginning of winter, the SSM/I measurements display the classical snow scattering signature, i.e., the brightness temperatures decrease with increasing depth, and the largest decrease occurs at the highest frequency. Dramatic deviations from this pattern are observed in the middle of winter, where the brightness temperature approaches a minimum and then begins to increase despite the fact that the snow depth remains constant or continues to grow. The two-stream radiative transfer model is combined with results from dense media theory to help explain the phenomenon. Model results suggest that the increase in brightness temperature is due to a decrease of the single scattering albedo as the snowpack ages. This decrease of the albedo is related to changes in the snow crystalline structure due to metamorphism. Consequences for the interpretation of satellite measurements and development of algorithms for deriving snow water equivalent are discussed

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 1 )