Recent changes in pan-Antarctic region surface snowmelt detected by AMSR-E and AMSR2

Lei Zheng, Chunxia Zhou, Tingjun Zhang, Qi Liang, Kang Wang
2020 The Cryosphere  
Abstract. Surface snowmelt in the pan-Antarctic region, including the Antarctic ice sheet (AIS) and sea ice, is crucial to the mass and energy balance in polar regions and can serve as an indicator of climate change. In this study, we investigate the spatial and temporal variations in surface snowmelt over the entire pan-Antarctic region from 2002 to 2017 by using passive microwave remote sensing data. The stable orbits and appropriate acquisition times of the Advanced Microwave Scanning
more » ... ter for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) and the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) enable us to take full advantage of daily brightness temperature (Tb) variations to detect surface snowmelt. The difference between AMSR-E/2 ascending and descending 36.5 GHz Tb values in vertical polarization (DAV36) was utilized to map the pan-Antarctic region snowmelt, as this method is unaffected by snow metamorphism. We evaluated the DAV36 algorithm against ground-based measurements and further improved the method over the marginal sea ice zone by excluding the effect of open water. Snowmelt detected by AMSR-E/2 data was more extensive and persistent than that detected by the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I) data. Continuous melt onset (CMO) ranged from August in the marginal sea ice zone to January in the Antarctic inland, and the early transient melt events occurred several days to more than 2 months earlier. The pan-Antarctic region CMO was significantly correlated (R=0.54, p<0.05) with the summer Southern Annular Mode (SAM). The decreased AIS melt extent was very likely linked (R=-0.82, p<0.01) with the enhanced summer SAM.
doi:10.5194/tc-14-3811-2020 fatcat:mm5qk3gyq5f6jntelatvx7npki