May 16, 2003
Snow-pack observation in Alaska - Quick Report
In the early spring (April 12 to 27 2003) when the snow repeatedly thaws and freezes, snow-pack observation was conducted in the small town of Barrow, Alaska, USA, which is located on the limb of the coast of the Arctic Ocean, at 71.17 N, 156.47 W in the Arctic Circle.
The observation site is located in a snowfield over tundra 3 km from Barrow. The observation instruments were transported by a snowmobile-driven sleigh.
At the site, snow pits were dug and snow crystal grain size, snow temperature, impurities, and so on were measured at every sampled depth. During this period, the temperature rises fast and it tends to be cloudy. However, precious and basic snow property data in the Arctic Circle was obtained.
In the two weeks, ground truth measurements under flights of Midori II were successfully implemented. In total, four samples of two paths in two days at five points every 1km were obtained. April 26 was a fine day, and a clear view of the snowfield surrounding Barrow was obtained by GLI
. In this image, open water looks like a black wedge between the snowfield on the tundra (lower part of the image) and the sea ice over the Arctic Ocean (upper part of the image).
will measure snow-cover distribution, snow-grain size, and snow-surface impurities, and will estimate the change of surface reflectance. These data sets are expected to be useful for examining the effect of snow cover on the polar and high-latitude regional weather changes as well as global climate changes such as global warming.
(Collaborating Institutes: Japan Meteorological Agency, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Stevens Institute of Technology and Sandia National Laboratories)
Earth Observation Research and application Center, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
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