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Investigation of seasonal landscape freeze/thaw cycles in relation to cloud structure in the high northern latitudes

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dc.contributor.advisor McDonald, Kyle en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Podest, Erika en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Luo, Johnny en_US Smith, Cosmo 2013-09-09T20:10:49Z 2013-09-09T20:10:49Z 2011-08
dc.identifier.citation JPL The Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology Program (MUST), Pasadena, California, August 2011. en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 11-3765
dc.description.abstract The seasonal freezing and thawing of Earth’s cryosphere (the portion of Earth’s surface permanently or seasonally frozen) has an immense impact on Earth’s climate as well as on its water, carbon and energy cycles. During the spring, snowmelt and the transition between frozen and non-frozen states lowers Earth’s surface albedo. This change in albedo causes more solar radiation to be absorbed by the land surface, raising surface soil and air temperatures as much as 5ºC within a few days. The transition of ice into liquid water not only raises the surface humidity, but also greatly affects the energy exchange between the land surface and the atmosphere as the phase change creates a latent energy dominated system. There is strong evidence to suggest that the thawing of the cryosphere during spring and refreezing during autumn is correlated to local atmospheric conditions such as cloud structure and frequency. Understanding the influence of land surface freeze/thaw cycles on atmospheric structure can help improve our understanding of links between seasonal land surface state and weather and climate, providing insight into associated changes in Earth’s water, carbon, and energy cycles that are driven by climate change. Information on both the freeze/thaw states of Earth’s land surface and cloud characteristics is derived from data sets collected by NOAA’s Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I), the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer on NASA’s Earth Observing System (AMSR-E), NASA’s CloudSat, and NASA’s SeaWinds-on-QuickSCAT Earth remote sensing satellite instruments. These instruments take advantage of the microwave spectrum to collect an ensemble of atmospheric and land surface data. Our analysis uses data from radars (active instruments which transmit a microwave signal toward Earth and measure the resultant backscatter) and radiometers (passive devices which measure Earth’s natural microwave emission) to accurately characterize salient details on Earth’s surface and atmospheric states. By comparing the cloud measurements and the surface freeze-thaw data sets, a correlation between the two phenomena can be developed. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2011. en_US
dc.subject freeze/thaw en_US
dc.subject clouds en_US
dc.subject microwave remote sensing en_US
dc.title Investigation of seasonal landscape freeze/thaw cycles in relation to cloud structure in the high northern latitudes en_US
dc.type Student Report en_US

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