From Antarctica with Love

Category : Cal/Val, Data

Antarctica is a swell place to perform calibration, especially at low microwave frequencies. For SMOS (and Aquarius), at L band (21 cm 1.4 GHz) the system probes a very large depth of very dry ice so the physical temperature is very stable.

The area around Dome Concordia has been used since launch to monitor SMOS calibration (as well as Aquarius later on) with the added advantage of having periodically a ground based radiometer (DOMEX run by IROE). An airborne campaign will soon be run to assess spatial variability.

But the main science aspects related to this ice cap is to understand and model properly both the layered structure and the corresponding emission. Another issue is to understand the variations in signal at L band in horizontal polarization.

The LGGE laboratory in Grenoble has been very active in the domain for many years and the SMOS project relied heavily on the Glacio group to progress on this front.

Currently a team is spending a good part of summer at Dome C and they have managed to extract very significant ice cores (see Arnaud Mialon carrying one such:.

Anaud with an ice Core

Anaud with an ice Core

In parallel at CESBIO we are constantly monitoring SMOS (and Aquarius) data, as seen on this plot from F. Cabot

Comparison Aquarius SMOS over domeC

Comparison Aquarius SMOS over domeC

Note the sudden variations seen by both sensors at H pol…

Stay tuned… more to follow

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