17 Mar 2022
17 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Brief communication: A continuous formulation of microwave scattering from fresh snow to bubbly ice from first principles

Ghislain Picard1,2, Henning Löwe3, and Christian Mätzler4 Ghislain Picard et al.
  • 1Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Institut des Géosciences de l’Environnement (IGE), UMR 5001, Grenoble, France
  • 2Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), 1350 Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 3WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland
  • 4GAMMA Remote Sensing AG, Gümligen, Switzerland

Abstract. Microwave remote sensing of the cryosphere demands a formulation of the scattering coefficient which can be applied over the entire range of relevant densities, from fresh snow to bubbly ice, at all frequencies and for any grain size and snow type. Most challenging are intermediate densities (450–550 kg m−3) and high frequencies (or coarse-grained snow) where current scattering formulations break down. In this brief communication we demonstrate that the strong contrast expansion method, recently developed for heterogeneous, dielectric media can be applied to microwave scattering in snow, firn and ice for solving these problems.

Ghislain Picard et al.

Status: open (extended)

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Ghislain Picard et al.

Model code and software

Snow Microwave Radiatiave Transfer Ghislain Picard, Melody Sandells, Henning Löwe

Ghislain Picard et al.


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Short summary
Microwave satellite observations used to monitor the cryosphere requires radiative transfer models for their interpretation. These models represent how microwaves are scattered by snow and ice. However no existing theory is suitable for all types of snow and ice found on Earth. We adapted a recently-published generic scattering theory to snow, and show how it may improve the representation of snows with intermediate densities (~500 kg m−3) and/or with coarse grains at high microwave frequencies.