SMOS supports investigations of Antarctica’s ice-sheet internal temperature

Lack of in-situ measurements of ice temperature (boreholes) limit our capabilities to understand ice sheet dynamics.

Researchers combined L-band (1.4 GHz) passive microwave observations from SMOS over Antarctica with glaciological and emission models to infer information on glaciological properties of the ice sheet at various depths, including temperature.

Comparison with existing models showed that differences in the estimation of temperature increase with depth and vary spatially, with the largest differences close to the bedrock. In particular, the results obtained clarified that some physical parameters used in input (geothermal heat flux and annual snow accumulation rate) need to be optimized with respect to the prior values found in the literature to correctly simulate L-band observations. Improvements might be expected when exploiting lower frequencies, as they provide higher penetration depth.

Full results of the study can be found in: G. Macelloni, M. Leduc-Leballeur, F. Montomoli, M. Brogioni, C. Ritz, G. Picard (2019). On the retrieval of internal temperature of Antarctica Ice Sheet by using SMOS observations, Remote Sensing of Environment 233 (