An intercomparison between AMSR-E snow-depth and satellite C- and Ku-band radar backscatter data for Antarctic sea ice

Stefan Kern*, Burcu Ozsoy-Cicek, Sascha Willmes, Marcel Nicolaus, Christian Haas, Stephen Ackley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) snow-depth data for Antarctic sea ice are compared with ship-based visual observations of snow depth, ice type and ridged-ice fraction, and with satellite C-band and Ku-band radar backscatter observations for two ship cruises into the Weddell Sea (ISPOL 2004-05, WWOS 2006) and one cruise into the Bellingshausen Sea (SIMBA 2007) during late winter/spring. Most (>75%) AMSR-E and ship-based snow-depth observations agree within 0.2 m during WWOS and SIMBA. Remaining observations indicate substantial underestimations of snow depths by AMSR-E data. These underestimations tend to increase with the ridged-ice fraction for WWOS and SIMBA. In areas with large snow depths, a combination of relatively stable low C-band radar backscatter and variable Ku-band radar backscatter is associated with undeformed first-year ice and may indicate snow metamorphism at this time of year during SIMBA. In areas with small snow depths, a combination of relatively stable low Ku-band radar backscatter, high C-band radar backscatter and low C-band radar backscatter standard deviations is associated with rough first-year ice during SIMBA. This information can help to better understand causes of the observed AMSR-E snow-depth bias during late-winter/spring conditions with decreasing average snow depth and to delineate areas where this bias occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-290
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Glaciology
Volume52
Issue number57 PART 2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Funding

FundersFunder number
Directorate for Geosciences0703682

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