Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/tc-2016-115
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Special issue editorial
21 Jun 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Development and analysis of a continuous record of global near-surface soil freeze/thaw patterns from AMSR-E and AMSR2 data
Tongxi Hu1,2, Tianjie Zhao1,3, Jiancheng Shi1,3, Tianxing Wang1,3, Dabin Ji1, Ahmad Al Bitar4, Bin Peng1,2, and Yurong Cui1,2 1State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3Joint Center for Global Change Studies, Beijing 100875, China
4Centre D'Etudes Spatiales De La Biosphere, Toulouse, France
Abstract. Monitoring near-surface soil freeze/thaw patterns is becoming essential under the context of global changes as it is more sensitive to climatic fluctuation compared with subsurface thermal characteristics and its evolution could be an early warning of changes in near-surface permafrost. It requires continuous long term and stable data record for understanding hydrological, ecological and biogeochemical responses of permafrost to global climate change. AMSR2 (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2) is designed as a successor of AMSR-E (Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer – Earth Observing System) to ensure continuity of such observation. In this study, a linear regression is used to inter-calibrate the AMSR-E and AMSR2 brightness temperatures. Then discriminant function algorithm is adopted to produce a long term freeze/thaw data record. It is compared with in situ air temperature measurements from both the temporal and spatial aspects. The results show that the accuracy is consistent between AMSR-E and AMSR2 with a value above 85 %, according to the result of spatial distribution accuracy. Analysis is conducted with this data record to explore the spatial distribution of frost days, its changing trend and the frost probability of each pixel on a specific date. The mean annual frost days of high northern latitude (HNL, > 45° N) zone is 214.2 ± 69.5 days and the trend of frost days indicates that the frost period is decreasing at a rate of −0.0065 day/month in 27 % of the domain which is defined by significance level of the F-test, and most of which are concentrated in the high latitude area specifically over the Northeast of Canada, Central and Eastern Russia and most part of Eastern Europe. The significant changes in frost days mostly occur in regions of discontinuous permafrost and transient permafrost. The spatial distribution of the frost days and its trend variations are found to be consistent with the minimum temperature anomalies trend. It indicates that the global warming is not constant at different regions over the globe. Further analysis over the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau where discontinuous permafrost, island permafrost, seasonally frozen ground exist demonstrated that the frost period is shortening slightly over the past decade, and the last frost date is advanced over more than half of the region. It is considered to be a remarkable indication for permafrost degradation in this area.

Citation: Hu, T., Zhao, T., Shi, J., Wang, T., Ji, D., Bitar, A. A., Peng, B., and Cui, Y.: Development and analysis of a continuous record of global near-surface soil freeze/thaw patterns from AMSR-E and AMSR2 data, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2016-115, in review, 2016.
Tongxi Hu et al.
Tongxi Hu et al.
Tongxi Hu et al.

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Short summary
We present an approach of satellite remote sensing to derive a continuous long term and stable data record of the near-surface freeze/thaw cycle over the permafrost and seasonally frozen ground. We find that the distribution of the frost days and its trend variations are consistent with the minimum temperature anomalies. Analysis over the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau demonstrates that the frost period is shortening slightly over the past decade, and the last frost date is advanced in most regions.
We present an approach of satellite remote sensing to derive a continuous long term and stable...
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