4A.2 Measuring Snow Depth on Antarctic Sea Ice using Satellite Radar Altimetry

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 8:45 AM
Room 19AB (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Steven W. Fons, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD; and N. T. Kurtz and J. Carton

Snow on Antarctic sea ice plays a complex yet important role in the cryosphere. While snow cover impacts sea ice both physically and thermodynamically, it is also responsible for a large source of uncertainty in satellite measurements of sea ice thickness. This work explores the challenges and feasibility of measuring snow depth from a satellite radar altimeter, in order to help determine the amount of snow on Antarctic sea ice and improve retrievals of sea ice properties. A waveform fitting technique developed by Kurtz et al. (2014) is applied to level-1b radar data from the European Space Agency’s Cryosat-2 satellite, to test a new foundation for snow depth retrieval. A successful algorithm could lead to better quantification and understanding of snow on Antarctic sea ice, as well as improved accuracy of sea ice measurements.
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