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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Observations of Snow Crystal Shape in Cold Snowpacks Using Scanning Electron Microscopy

item Foster, James - NASA
item Hall, Dorthy - NASA
item Chang, Alfred - NASA
item Rango, Albert
item Wergin, William
item Erbe, Eric

Submitted to: IEEE IGARSS Annual Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 1996
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Microwave emission from a layer of snow over ground consists of contributions from the snow itself and the underlying ground. number of microwave algorithms are available to evaluate and retrieve snow cover and snow depth for specific regions and seasonal conditions. Snow crystal size and shape effects the response of microwave radiation emanating from below and within the snowpack, and information on the crystal size and shape must be included in the microwave algorithms. The lack of precise information about snow crystal size and shape is compensated for by using an average size and an assumed spherical shape in the radiative transfer equations used to calculate energy transfer through the snowpack. A cryosystem has been developed to preserve snow crystals collected in the field so that they can be imaged using low temperature scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The use of SEM to gather information on snow grain size, shape, and bonding will be valuable for improving radiative transfer models and refining algorithms used to derive snow cover and depth.

Last Modified: 4/19/2015
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