Retrieval of Snow Depth on Arctic Sea Ice From Surface-Based, Polarimetric, Dual-Frequency Radar Altimetry

Willatt, R.; Stroeve, J.C.; Nandan, V.; Newman, T.; Mallett, R.; Hendricks, S.; Ricker, R.; Mead, J.; Itkin, P.; Tonboe, R.; Wagner, D.N.; Spreen, G.; Liston, G.; Schneebeli, M.; Krampe, D.; Tsamados, M.; Demir, O.; Wilkinson, J.; Jaggi, M.; Zhou, L.; Huntermann, M.; Raphael, I.A.; Jutila, A.; Oggier, M.. 2023 Retrieval of Snow Depth on Arctic Sea Ice From Surface-Based, Polarimetric, Dual-Frequency Radar Altimetry. Geophysical Research Letters, 50 (20), e2023GL104461. 11, pp.

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Snow depth on sea ice is an Essential Climate Variable and a major source of uncertainty in satellite altimetry-derived sea ice thickness. During winter of the MOSAiC Expedition, the “KuKa” dual-frequency, fully polarized Ku- and Ka-band radar was deployed in “stare” nadir-looking mode to investigate the possibility of combining these two frequencies to retrieve snow depth. Three approaches were investigated: dual-frequency, dual-polarization and waveform shape, and compared to independent snow depth measurements. Novel dual-polarization approaches yielded r2 values up to 0.77. Mean snow depths agreed within 1 cm, even for data sub-banded to CryoSat-2 SIRAL and SARAL AltiKa bandwidths. Snow depths from co-polarized dual-frequency approaches were at least a factor of four too small and had a r2 0.15 or lower. r2 for waveform shape techniques reached 0.72 but depths were underestimated. Snow depth retrievals using polarimetric information or waveform shape may therefore be possible from airborne/satellite radar altimeters.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0094-8276
Additional Keywords: sea ice; snow; radar; altimetry; polarimetric; climate
Date made live: 23 Oct 2023 09:02 +0 (UTC)

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