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Open AccessArticle

Reflectance Modeling for Real Snow Structures Using a Beam Tracing Model

Institute of Environmental Geosciences,Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, Bernoullistrasse 30, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zürich, Universitätstrasse 16, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, SLF , Flüelastrasse 11, Davos Dorf, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2008, 8(5), 3482-3496;
Received: 18 January 2008 / Accepted: 23 May 2008 / Published: 26 May 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Switzerland)
It is important to understand reflective properties of snow, for example for remote sensing applications and for modeling of energy balances in snow packs. We present a method with which we can compare reflectance measurements and calculations for the same snow sample structures. Therefore, we first tomograph snow samples to acquire snow structure images (6 x 2 mm). Second, we calculated the sample reflectance by modeling the radiative transfer, using a beam tracing model. This model calculates the biconical reflectance (BR) derived from an arbitrary number of incident beams. The incident beams represent a diffuse light source. We applied our method to four different snow samples: Fresh snow, metamorphosed snow, depth hoar, and wet snow. The results show that (i) the calculated and measured reflectances agree well and (ii) the model produces different biconical reflectances for different snow types. The ratio of the structure to the wavelength is large. We estimated that the size parameter is larger than 50 in all cases we analyzed. Specific surface area of the snow samples explains most of the difference in radiance, but not the different biconical reflectance distributions. The presented method overcomes the limitations of common radiative transfer models which use idealized grain shapes such as spheres, plates, needles and hexagonal particles. With this method we could improve our understanding for changes in biconical reflectance distribution associated with changes in specific surface area. View Full-Text
Keywords: reflectance; radiative transfer; modeling; snow reflectance; radiative transfer; modeling; snow
MDPI and ACS Style

Bänninger, D.; Bourgeois, C.S.; Matzl, M.; Schneebeli, M. Reflectance Modeling for Real Snow Structures Using a Beam Tracing Model. Sensors 2008, 8, 3482-3496.

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