Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-81
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-81
06 Feb 2024
 | 06 Feb 2024

Quantifying the Influence of Snow over Sea Ice Morphology on L-Band Microwave Satellite Observations in the Southern Ocean

Lu Zhou, Julienne Stroeve, Vishnu Nandan, Rosemary Willatt, Shiming Xu, Weixin Zhu, Sahra Kacimi, Stefanie Arndt, and Zifan Yang

Abstract. Antarctic snow on sea ice can contain slush, refrozen snow-ice and stratified layers, complicating satellite retrieval processes for snow depth, ice thickness, and sea ice concentration. The introduction of moist and brine-wetted snow alters microwave snow emissions and modifies the energy and mass balance of sea ice. This study assesses the impact of brine-wetted snow and slush layers on L-band surface brightness temperatures (Tbs) by synergizing a snow stratigraphy model (SNOWPACK) driven by atmospheric reanalysis data and a RAdiative transfer model Developed for Ice and Snow in the L-band (RADIS-L) v1.0. The updated RADIS-L v1.1 further introduces parameterisations for brine-wetted and slush snow layers over Antarctic sea ice. Our findings highlight the importance of including both brine-wetted snow and slush layers in order to accurately simulate L-band brightness temperatures, laying the groundwork for improved satellite retrievals of snow depth and ice thickness using satellite sensors such as the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) and Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP). However, biases in modeled and observed L-band brightness temperatures persist, which we attribute to sub-grid scale ice surface variability and snow stratigraphy. Given the scarcity of comprehensive in situ snow and ice data in the Southern Ocean, ramping up observational initiatives in the region is imperative to provide not only satellite validation data sets but also improving process-level understanding that can scale up to improving the precision of satellite snow and ice thickness retrievals.

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Lu Zhou, Julienne Stroeve, Vishnu Nandan, Rosemary Willatt, Shiming Xu, Weixin Zhu, Sahra Kacimi, Stefanie Arndt, and Zifan Yang

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-81', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-81', Anonymous Referee #2, 01 Apr 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-81', Anonymous Referee #3, 04 May 2024
Lu Zhou, Julienne Stroeve, Vishnu Nandan, Rosemary Willatt, Shiming Xu, Weixin Zhu, Sahra Kacimi, Stefanie Arndt, and Zifan Yang
Lu Zhou, Julienne Stroeve, Vishnu Nandan, Rosemary Willatt, Shiming Xu, Weixin Zhu, Sahra Kacimi, Stefanie Arndt, and Zifan Yang

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Short summary
Snow over Antarctic sea ice, influenced by highly variable meteorological conditions and heavy snowfall, has complex stratigraphy and profound impact over the microwave signature. We employ advanced radiation transfer models to analyze the effects of complex snow properties on brightness temperatures over the sea ice in Southern Oceans. Great potential lies in the understanding of snow processes and the application to satellite retrievals.