Detection of snowmelt regions on the Greenland ice sheet using diurnal backscatter change

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Snowmelt regions on Greenland ice are mapped daily with the SeaWinds wideswath Ku-band (13.4 GHz) scatterometer on the QuikSCAT satellite. The approach exploits the high temporal resolution of SeaWinds/QuikSCATdata for the melt mapping using diurnal backscatter change independent of the absolute calibration. The results reveal several pronounced melting and refreezing events, and effects of topography are evident in the melt patterns. The spatial resolution is sufficient to identify melt features on the Sukker- toppen Iskappe west of the main ice sheet. An anomalous warming event, caused by down- ward mixing of warm air, is detected in late September 1999 over the west flank of the southern Greenland ice sheet. Time-series images of melt regions are presented over the period from summer to the fall freeze-up. The satellite observations are verified with in situ measurements from the Greenland Climate Network stations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2001

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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