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Open AccessArticle

Modelling the L-Band Snow-Covered Surface Emission in a Winter Canadian Prairie Environment

Université de Sherbrooke, 2500 boul. Université, Sherbrooke, QC J1K 2R1, Canada
Département des Sciences de l’Environnement, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, 3351 Boulevard des Forges, Trois-Rivières, QC G9A 5H7, Canada
Centre d’études Nordiques, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada
Institute of Applied Physics—Ational Research Council, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IGE, F-38000 Grenoble, France
Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, ON M3H 5T4, Canada
Finnish Meteorological Institute, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
Department of Geography, Environment, and Geomatics University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
Gamma Remote Sensing AG, CH-3073 Gümligen, Switzerland
Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(9), 1451;
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 29 August 2018 / Accepted: 5 September 2018 / Published: 11 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Environmental Changes in Cold Regions)
Detailed angular ground-based L-band brightness temperature (TB) measurements over snow covered frozen soil in a prairie environment were used to parameterize and evaluate an electromagnetic model, the Wave Approach for LOw-frequency MIcrowave emission in Snow (WALOMIS), for seasonal snow. WALOMIS, initially developed for Antarctic applications, was extended with a soil interface model. A Gaussian noise on snow layer thickness was implemented to account for natural variability and thus improve the TB simulations compared to observations. The model performance was compared with two radiative transfer models, the Dense Media Radiative Transfer-Multi Layer incoherent model (DMRT-ML) and a version of the Microwave Emission Model for Layered Snowpacks (MEMLS) adapted specifically for use at L-band in the original one-layer configuration (LS-MEMLS-1L). Angular radiometer measurements (30°, 40°, 50°, and 60°) were acquired at six snow pits. The root-mean-square error (RMSE) between simulated and measured TB at vertical and horizontal polarizations were similar for the three models, with overall RMSE between 7.2 and 10.5 K. However, WALOMIS and DMRT-ML were able to better reproduce the observed TB at higher incidence angles (50° and 60°) and at horizontal polarization. The similar results obtained between WALOMIS and DMRT-ML suggests that the interference phenomena are weak in the case of shallow seasonal snow despite the presence of visible layers with thicknesses smaller than the wavelength, and the radiative transfer model can thus be used to compute L-band brightness temperature. View Full-Text
Keywords: L-band emission; snow; WALOMIS; Frozen soil; ground-based radiometer L-band emission; snow; WALOMIS; Frozen soil; ground-based radiometer
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MDPI and ACS Style

Roy, A.; Leduc-Leballeur, M.; Picard, G.; Royer, A.; Toose, P.; Derksen, C.; Lemmetyinen, J.; Berg, A.; Rowlandson, T.; Schwank, M. Modelling the L-Band Snow-Covered Surface Emission in a Winter Canadian Prairie Environment. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1451.

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