Simultaneous estimation of wintertime sea ice thickness and snow depth from space-borne freeboard measurements
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Simultaneous estimation of wintertime sea ice thickness and snow depth from space-borne freeboard measurements

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    A method of simultaneously estimating snow depth and sea ice thickness using satellite-based freeboard measurements over the Arctic Ocean during winter was proposed. The ratio of snow depth to ice thickness (referred to as α) was defined and used in constraining the conversion from the freeboard to ice thickness in satellite altimetry without prior knowledge of snow depth. Then α was empirically determined using the ratio of temperature difference of the snow layer to the difference of the ice layer to allow the determination of α from satellite-derived snow surface temperature and snow–ice interface temperature. The proposed method was evaluated against NASA's Operation IceBridge measurements, and results indicated that the algorithm adequately retrieves snow depth and ice thickness simultaneously; retrieved ice thickness was found to be better than the methods relying on the use of snow depth climatology as input in terms of mean bias. The application of the proposed method to CryoSat-2 radar freeboard measurements yields similar results. In conclusion, the developed α-based method has the capacity to derive ice thickness and snow depth without relying on the snow depth information as input for the buoyancy equation or the radar penetration correction for converting freeboard to ice thickness.
  • Source:
    The Cryosphere, 14, 3761-3783
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    CC BY
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