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Volume 8, issue 8 | Copyright
Geosci. Model Dev., 8, 2611-2626, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-8-2611-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Model description paper 24 Aug 2015

Model description paper | 24 Aug 2015

MEMLS3&a: Microwave Emission Model of Layered Snowpacks adapted to include backscattering

M. Proksch1,5, C. Mätzler2,6, A. Wiesmann2, J. Lemmetyinen3, M. Schwank2,4, H. Löwe1, and M. Schneebeli1 M. Proksch et al.
  • 1WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Flüelastrasse 11, 7260 Davos Dorf, Switzerland
  • 2GAMMA Remote Sensing Research and Consulting AG, Worbstrasse 225, 3073 Gümlingen, Switzerland
  • 3Arctic Research Center, Finnish Meteorological Institute FMI, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
  • 4Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Zürcherstrasse 111, 8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland
  • 5Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 6Institute of Applied Physics, University of Bern, Sidlerstrasse 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. The Microwave Emission Model of Layered Snowpacks (MEMLS) was originally developed for microwave emissions of snowpacks in the frequency range 5–100 GHz. It is based on six-flux theory to describe radiative transfer in snow including absorption, multiple volume scattering, radiation trapping due to internal reflection and a combination of coherent and incoherent superposition of reflections between horizontal layer interfaces. Here we introduce MEMLS3&a, an extension of MEMLS, which includes a backscatter model for active microwave remote sensing of snow. The reflectivity is decomposed into diffuse and specular components. Slight undulations of the snow surface are taken into account. The treatment of like- and cross-polarization is accomplished by an empirical splitting parameter q. MEMLS3&a (as well as MEMLS) is set up in a way that snow input parameters can be derived by objective measurement methods which avoid fitting procedures of the scattering efficiency of snow, required by several other models. For the validation of the model we have used a combination of active and passive measurements from the NoSREx (Nordic Snow Radar Experiment) campaign in Sodankylä, Finland. We find a reasonable agreement between the measurements and simulations, subject to uncertainties in hitherto unmeasured input parameters of the backscatter model. The model is written in Matlab and the code is publicly available for download through the following website: http://www.iapmw.unibe.ch/research/projects/snowtools/memls.html.

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The measurement of snow properties on global scale relies on microwave remote sensing data. The interpretation of the data is however challenging. Here we introduce MEMLS3&a, an extension of the snow emission model MEMLS, to include a backscatter model for active microwave remote sensing. In MEMLS3&a, snow input parameters can be derived by objective measurement methods, which avoids fitting the scattering efficiency of snow. The model is validated with combined active and passive measurements.
The measurement of snow properties on global scale relies on microwave remote sensing data. The...
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