Active and passive microwave measurements obtained by the dual-frequency Topex-Poseidon radar altimeter from the Northern Great Plains of the United States are used to develop a snow pack radar backscatter model. The model results are compared with daily time series of surface snow observations made by the U.S. National Weather Service. The model results show that Ku-band provides more accurate snow depth determinations than does C-band. Comparing the snow depth determinations derived from the Topex-Poseidon nadir-looking passive microwave radiometers with the oblique-looking Satellite Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) passive microwave observations and surface observations shows that both instruments accurately portray the temporal characteristics of the snow depth time series. While both retrievals consistently underestimate the actual snow depths, the Topex-Poseidon results are more accurate.
Additional Publication Details
Estimating terrestrial snow depth with the Topex-Poseidon altimeter and radiometer
IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing