Articles | Volume 16, issue 12
Research article
21 Dec 2022
Research article |  | 21 Dec 2022

The sensitivity of satellite microwave observations to liquid water in the Antarctic snowpack

Ghislain Picard, Marion Leduc-Leballeur, Alison F. Banwell, Ludovic Brucker, and Giovanni Macelloni

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Cited articles

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Al Bitar, A., Mialon, A., Kerr, Y. H., Cabot, F., Richaume, P., Jacquette, E., Quesney, A., Mahmoodi, A., Tarot, S., Parrens, M., Al-Yaari, A., Pellarin, T., Rodriguez-Fernandez, N., and Wigneron, J.-P.: The global SMOS Level 3 daily soil moisture and brightness temperature maps, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 9, 293–315,, 2017 (data available at:, last access: 14 March 2022). a, b
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Arthur, J. F., Stokes, C. R., Jamieson, S. S. R., Carr, J. R., Leeson, A. A., and Verjans, V.: Large interannual variability in supraglacial lakes around East Antarctica, Nat. Commun., 13, 1711,, 2022. a
Short summary
Using a snowpack radiative transfer model, we investigate in which conditions meltwater can be detected from passive microwave satellite observations from 1.4 to 37 GHz. In particular, we determine the minimum detectable liquid water content, the maximum depth of detection of a buried wet snow layer and the risk of false alarm due to supraglacial lakes. These results provide information for the developers of new, more advanced satellite melt products and for the users of the existing products.