Retrieval of snow albedo and grain size using reflectance measurements in Himalayan basin
- 1Snow & Avalanche Study Establishment, Him Parisar, Sector-37A, Chandigarh 160 036, India
- 2Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, O. Hahn Allee 1, 28359 Bremen, Germany
Abstract. In the present paper, spectral reflectance measurements of Himalayan seasonal snow were carried out and analysed to retrieve the snow albedo and effective grain size. The asymptotic radiative transfer (ART) theory was applied to retrieve the plane and spherical albedo. The retrieved plane albedo was compared with the measured spectral albedo and a good agreement was observed with ±10% differences. Retrieved integrated albedo was found within ±6% difference with ground observed broadband albedo. The retrieved snow grain sizes using different models based on the ART theory were compared for various snow types and it was observed that the grain size model using two channel method (one in visible and another in NIR region) can work well for the Himalayan seasonal snow and it was found consistent with temporal changes in grain size. This method can work very well for clean, dry snow as in the upper Himalaya, but sometimes, due to the low reflectances (<20%) using wavelength 1.24 μm, the ART theory cannot be applied, which is common in lower and middle Himalayan old snow. This study is important for monitoring the Himalayan cryosphere using air-borne or space-borne sensors.