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Optical properties of snow in backscatter

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We present an overview and the first systematic results on the backscatter properties of snow samples with different grain properties. During a 2 year study we investigated the effect of the apparent characteristics of the samples on the intensity enhancement in the direction of exact backscatter (retroreflection), using a specific instrument designed for backscatter measurements. We observed that a sharp peak in intensity (the hot spot) occurs for most types of snow, which is not observable with traditional goniometers. The key factors in the peak properties are the temperature (related to the changes in grain structure) and grain shape and size. These results form the basis of a larger backscatter data archive which is being applied in the systematic study and exploitation of 'hot spots' in remote sensing of natural targets, as well as in the development of airborne laser intensity measurement.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-12-01

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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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