The observed brightness temperatures (Tb) at 37 GHz from typical moderate density dry snow in mid-latitudes decreases with increasing snow water equivalent (SWE) due to volume scattering of the ground emissions by the overlying snow. At a certain point, however, as SWE increases, the emission from the snowpack offsets the scattering of the sub-nivean emission. In tundra snow, the Tb slope reversal occurs at shallower snow thicknesses. While it has been postulated that the inflection point in the seasonal time series of observed Tb V 37 GHz of tundra snow is controlled by the formation of a thick wind slab layer, the simulation of this effect has yet to be confirmed. Therefore, the Dense Media Radiative Transfer Theory for Multi Layered (DMRT-ML) snowpack is used to predict the passive microwave response from airborne observations over shallow, dense, slab-layered tundra snow. Airborne radiometer observations coordinated with ground-based in situ
snow measurements were acquired in the Canadian high Arctic near Eureka, NT, in April 2011. The DMRT-ML was parameterized with the in situ
snow measurements using a two-layer snowpack and run in two configurations: a depth hoar and a wind slab dominated pack. With these two configurations, the calibrated DMRT-ML successfully predicted the Tb V 37 GHz response (R correlation of 0.83) when compared with the observed airborne Tb footprints containing snow pits measurements. Using this calibrated model, the DMRT-ML was applied to the whole study region. At the satellite observation scale, observations from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer-Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) over the study area reflected seasonal differences between Tb V 37 GHz and Tb V 19 GHz that supports the hypothesis of the development of an early season volume scattering depth hoar layer, followed by the growth of the late season emission-dominated wind slab layer. This research highlights the necessity to consider the two-part emission characteristics of a slab-dominated tundra snowpack at 37 GHz Tb.
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