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Reflectance of Antarctica from 3 to 5 µm: discrimination of surface snow and cloud properties

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Current techniques of cloud discrimination in polar regions, ice surface temperature measurement, sea-ice and snowfield extent mapping often rely on data acquired in the region from 3 to 5 µm. The Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) and the recently launched Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on Terra have spectral bands in this region used for these purposes. Approaches often consider the radiance value in this spectral range in terms of a single equivalent brightness temperature. However, this spectral region contains contributions from both solar-reflected and thermal-emitted radiance, and a water ice reflectance peak at 3.7 µm can be highly variable and a sensitive indicator of grain-size in icy particles either in clouds or as surface snow. In December 1992 the Galileo spacecraft, on its way to Jupiter, flew by and acquired images of Antarctica that included spectral coverage in 408 channels in the wavelength range 1-5 µm with the Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS). The NIMS spectra provide a basis for the separation of the reflected and emitted components in this wavelength region. This separation then allows the examination of the observed variation of the reflected component with respect to cloud and surface ice properties. This analysis may help refine current algorithms for cloud discrimination in AVHRR and MODIS using channels from 3 to 5 µm.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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