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Modeling time series of microwave brightness temperature at Dome C, Antarctica, using vertically resolved snow temperature and microstructure measurements

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Time series of observed microwave brightness temperatures at Dome C, East Antarctic plateau, were modeled over 27 months with a multilayer microwave emission model based on dense-medium radiative transfer theory. The modeled time series of brightness temperature at 18.7 and 36.5 GHz were compared with Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer–EOS observations. The model uses in situ high-resolution vertical profiles of temperature, snow density and grain size. The snow grain-size profile was derived from near-infrared (NIR) reflectance photography of a snow pit wall in the range 850–1100 nm. To establish the snow grain-size profile, from the NIR reflectance and the specific surface area of snow, two empirical relationships and a theoretical relationship were considered. In all cases, the modeled brightness temperatures were overestimated, and the grain-size profile had to be scaled to increase the scattering by snow grains. Using a scaling factor and a constant snow grain size below 3 m depth (i.e. below the image-derived snow pit grain-size profile), brightness temperatures were explained with a root-mean-square error close to 1 K. Most of this error is due to an overestimation of the predicted brightness temperature in summer at 36.5 GHz.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2011

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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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