Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2021-286
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2021-286

  01 Oct 2021

01 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Snow depth product over Antarctic sea ice from 2002 to 2020 using multisource passive microwave radiometers

Xiaoyi Shen1,2, Chang-Qing Ke1,2, and Haili Li1,2 Xiaoyi Shen et al.
  • 1School of Geography and Ocean Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023, China
  • 2Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210023, China

Abstract. Snow over sea ice controls energy budgets and affects sea ice growth/melting, and thus has essential effects on the climate. Passive microwave radiometers can be used for basin-scale snow depth estimation at a daily scale; however, previously published methods applied to Antarctica clearly underestimated snow depth, limiting their further application. Here, we estimated snow depth using microwave radiometers and a newly constructed, robust method by incorporating lower frequencies, which have been available from AMSR-E and AMSR-2 since 2002. A regression analysis using 7 years of Operation IceBridge (OIB) airborne snow depth measurements showed that the gradient ratio (GR) calculated using brightness temperatures in vertically polarized 37 and 19 GHz, i.e., GR(37/7), was optimal for deriving Antarctic snow depth, with a correlation coefficient of −0.64. We hence derive new coefficients based on GR(37/7) to improve the current snow depth estimation from passive microwave radiometers. Comparing the new retrieval with in situ measurements from the Australian Antarctic Data Centre showed that this method outperformed the previously available method, with a mean difference of 5.64 cm and an RMSD of 13.79 cm, compared to values of −14.47 cm and 19.49 cm, respectively. A comparison to shipborne observations from Antarctic Sea Ice Processes and Climate indicated that in thin ice regions, the proposed method performed slightly better than the previous method (with RMSDs of 16.85 cm and 17.61 cm, respectively). Comparable performances during the growth and melting seasons suggest that the proposed method can still be used during the melting season. Gaussian error propagation found an average snow depth uncertainty of 3.81 cm, which accounted for 12 % of the estimated mean snow depth. We generated a complete snow depth product over Antarctic sea ice from 2002 to 2020 on a daily scale, and negative trends could be found in all sea sectors and seasons. This dataset (including both snow depth and snow depth uncertainty) can be downloaded from National Tibetan Plateau Data Center, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences at http://data.tpdc.ac.cn/en/disallow/61ea8177-7177-4507-aeeb-0c7b653d6fc3/ (Shen and Ke, 2021, DOI: 10.11888/Snow.tpdc.271653).

Xiaoyi Shen et al.

Status: open (until 26 Nov 2021)

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Xiaoyi Shen et al.

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Snow depth product over Antarctic sea ice from 2002 to 2020 Xiaoyi Shen; Chang-Qing Ke https://doi.org/10.11888/Snow.tpdc.271653

Xiaoyi Shen et al.

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Short summary
Snow over Antarctic sea ice controls energy budgets and thus has essential effects on the climate. Here, we estimated snow depth using microwave radiometers and a newly constructed, robust method by incorporating lower frequencies, which have been available from AMSR-E and AMSR-2. Comparing the new retrieval with in situ and shipborne snow depth measurements showed that this method outperformed the previously available method.