Remote Sensing of Environment, Volume 247

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Elsevier BV
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Influence of surface water on coarse resolution C-band backscatter: Implications for freeze/thaw retrieval from scatterometer data
Helena Bergstedt | Annett Bartsch | Claude R. Duguay | Benjamin M. Jones

Abstract The freeze/thaw state of permafrost landscapes is an essential variable for monitoring ecological, hydrological and climate processes. Ground surface state can be obtained from satellite data through time series analysis of C-band backscatter from scatterometer and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) observations. Scatterometer data has been used in a variety of studies concerning freeze/thaw retrieval of the land surface. Coarse spatial resolution scatterometer data has great potential for application in this field due to its high temporal resolution (approx. daily observations). In this study, we investigate the influence of sub-grid cell (12.5 km) surface water (ice free and ice covered) on freeze/thaw retrieval based on ASCAT data using a threshold algorithm. We found discrepancies related to the surface water fraction in the detected timing of thawing and freezing of up to 2 days earlier thawing for spring and 3.5 days earlier freezing for autumn for open water fractions of 40% resulting in an overestimation of the frozen season. Results of this study led to the creation of a method for correction of water fraction impact on freeze/thaw data. Additionally, this study demonstrates the applicability of a new approach to freeze/thaw retrieval which has not so far been tested for SAR, specifically Sentinel-1.

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Monitoring high-altitude river ice distribution at the basin scale in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau from a Landsat time-series spanning 1999–2018
Haojie Li | Hongyi Li | Jian Wang | Xiaohua Hao

Abstract River ice monitoring is important for hydrological research and water resource management of the Tibetan Plateau but limited by the serious shortage of field observations, and remote sensing can be used as an effective supplementary means for monitoring river ice. However, remote sensing high-altitude river ice is scarce and a basin-scale understanding of river ice is lacking on the Tibetan Plateau. To ascertain the spatial and temporal distribution characteristics of high-altitude river ice at the basin scale, we selected the Babao River basin as the study area, which is a typical river basin located in the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. Utilizing 447 available Landsat images during the river ice period from 1999 to 2018 and the classical normalized difference snow index (NDSI) algorithm, we monitored the river ice in a long time series at the Babao River basin. The average Khat of accuracy validation reached 0.973. The average area of river ice in the river ice period of this basin showed a weak decreasing trend and was negatively correlated with air temperature. We also found that gentle slopes and high elevations are beneficial for the development of river ice. The melting of river ice supplements river discharge in spring. This study is the first to reveal the distribution characteristics and changing trend of river ice at the basin scale on the Tibetan Plateau, and the results provide a reference for river ice research in this region.