Brief Communication: Conventional assumptions involving the speed of radar waves in snow introduce systematic underestimates to sea ice thickness and seasonal growth rate estimates

Robbie D. C. Mallett, Isobel R. Lawrence, Julienne C. Stroeve, Jack C. Landy, Michel Tsamados
2019 The Cryosphere Discussions  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> Pan-Arctic sea ice thickness has been monitored over recent decades by satellite radar altimeters such as CryoSat-2, which emit Ku-band radar waves that are conventionally assumed to penetrate overlying snow and scatter from the ice-snow interface. Here we examine two expressions for the time delay caused by slower radar wave propagation through the snow layer and related assumptions concerning the time-evolution of overlying snow density. Two conventional
more » ... s lead to systematic underestimates of winter ice thickness and thermodynamic growth rate of up to 15&amp;thinsp;cm over multiyear ice. Correcting these biases would improve the accuracy of sea ice thickness products, which feed a wide variety of model projections, calibrations, validations and reanalyses.</p>
doi:10.5194/tc-2019-198 fatcat:7dqyshngvne3xnxuervxsk7mmq