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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 03 Jun 2019

Submitted as: research article | 03 Jun 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Effects of decimetre-scale surface roughness on L-band Brightness Temperature of Sea Ice

Maciej Miernecki1,2, Lars Kaleschke3,2, Nina Maaß2, Stefan Hendricks3, and Sten Schmidl Søbjrg4 Maciej Miernecki et al.
  • 1Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère (CESBIO), 18 avenue Edouard Belin bpi 2801, 31401 Toulouse CEDEX 9, France
  • 2Institute of Oceanography (IfM), University of Hamburg, Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
  • 3Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Bussestrasse 24, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 4Technical University of Denmark, Ørsteds Plads, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby Danmark

Abstract. Sea ice thickness measurements with L-band radiometry is a technique which allows daily, weather-independent monitoring of the polar sea ice cover. The sea-ice thickness retrieval algorithms relay on the sensitivity of the L-band brightness temperature to sea-ice thickness. In this work, we investigate the decimetre-scale surface roughness as a factor influencing the L-band emissions from sea ice. We used an airborne laser scanner to construct a digital elevation model of the sea ice surface. We found that the probability density function of surface slopes is exponential for a range of degrees of roughness. Then we applied the geometrical optics, bounded with the MIcrowave L-band LAyered Sea ice emission model in the Monte Carlo simulation to simulate the effects of surface roughness. According to this simulations, the most affected by surface roughness is the vertical polarization around Brewster's angle, where the decrease in brightness temperature can reach 8 K. The vertical polarization for the same configuration exhibits a 4 K increase. The near-nadir angles are little affected, up to 2.6 K decrease for the most deformed ice. Overall the effects of large-scale surface roughness can be expressed as a superposition of two factors: the change in intensity and the polarization mixing. The first factor depends on surface permittivity, second shows little dependence on it. Comparison of the brightness temperature simulations with the radiometer data does not yield definite results.

Maciej Miernecki et al.
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Maciej Miernecki et al.
Maciej Miernecki et al.
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