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Relationships between radar backscatter and accumulation rates on the Greenland ice sheet

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C-band radar backscatter generally seems to be inversely related to accumulation rate across Greenland's dry snow zone. A coupled snow metamorphosis-backscatter model was constructed in order to investigate the observation. Accumulation rate and mean annual temperature were the coupled-model inputs. In a local area where accumulation rate is known very accurately the model predicts the backscatter level along several transects within the calibration uncertainties of the ERS-1 SAR data. The analysis was applied to the remainder of the dry snow zone. The model showed that both accumulation rate and temperature can modulate surface backscatter across Greenland's dry snow zone with accumulation rate being the primary influence.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 15, 1999

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