Microwave remote sensing detection of snow melt and ablation generally focuses on the detection of liquid moisture in the snow-pack. For ablation estimation, it is important to determine if wet snow is in the process of melting or freezing. The different stages of the melt cycle are observed in the diurnal variation of Tb measurements from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) over Greenland. SSM/I channel ratios exhibit patterns indicating that they are sensitive to melt and freeze stages of the daily melt cycle. The horizontal to vertical polarization ratio is sensitive to surface wetness associated with melting. The 19-37-GHz frequency ratio is sensitive to a frozen surface layer over wet snow which is associated with the freeze stage of the melt cycle. These observations are supported by conceptual models presented here and in in situ measurements from other investigators.
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