Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 9, 8105-8136, 2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in HESS.
CREST-Snow Field Experiment: analysis of snowpack properties using multi-frequency microwave remote sensing data
T. Lakhankar1, J. Muñoz1, P. Romanov1, A. M. Powell2, N. Krakauer1, W. Rossow1, and R. Khanbilvardi1
1NOAA-CREST, The City College of New York, 160 Convent Ave, New York, NY, USA
2The Center for Satellite Applications and Research, NESDIS/ NOAA, Camp Springs, MD, USA

Abstract. The CREST-Snow Analysis and Field Experiment (CREST-SAFE) was carried out during winter 2011 at the research site of the National Weather Service office, Caribou ME, USA. In this ground experiment, dual polarized microwave (37 and 89 GHz) observations are conducted along with detailed synchronous observations of snowpack properties. The objective of this long term field experiment is to improve our understanding of the effect of changing snow characteristics (grain size, density, temperature) under various meteorological conditions on the microwave emission of snow and hence to improve retrievals of snow cover properties from satellite observations in the microwave spectral range. In this paper, we presented the overview of field experiment and preliminary analysis of the microwave observations for the first year of experiment along with support observations of the snowpack properties obtained during the 2011 winter season. SNTHERM and HUT (Helsinki University of Technology) snow emission model were used to simulate snowpack properties and microwave brightness temperatures respectively. Simulated brightness temperatures were compared with observed brightness temperature from radiometer under different snow conditions. On the time series, large difference in the brightness temperature were observed for fresh compared to aged snow even under the same snow depth, suggesting a substantial impact of other parameters such as: snow grain size and density on microwave observations. A large diurnal variation in the 37 and 89 GHz brightness temperature with small depolarization factor was observed due to cold nights and warm days, which caused a cycling between wet snow and ice-over-snow states during the early spring. Scattering analysis of microwave brightness temperatures from radiometers were performed to distinguished different snow conditions developed through the winter season.

Citation: Lakhankar, T., Muñoz, J., Romanov, P., Powell, A. M., Krakauer, N., Rossow, W., and Khanbilvardi, R.: CREST-Snow Field Experiment: analysis of snowpack properties using multi-frequency microwave remote sensing data, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., 9, 8105-8136, doi:10.5194/hessd-9-8105-2012, 2012.
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