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Direct Assimilation of AMSR-E Brightness Temperatures for Estimating Sea Ice Concentration

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  • 1 Meteorological Research Division, Environment Canada, Dorval, Canada
  • | 2 Marine and Ice Services Division, Environment Canada, Ottawa, Canada
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Abstract

In this paper a method to directly assimilate brightness temperatures from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) to produce ice concentration analyses within a three-dimensional variational data assimilation system is investigated. To assimilate the brightness temperatures a simple radiative transfer model is used as the forward model that maps the state vector to the observation space. This allows brightness temperatures to be modeled for all channels as a function of the total ice concentration, surface wind speed, sea surface temperature, ice temperature, vertically integrated water vapor, and vertically integrated cloud liquid water. The brightness temperatures estimated by the radiative transfer model are sensitive to the specified values for the sea ice emissivity. In this paper, two methods of specifying the sea ice emissivity are compared. The first uses a constant value for each polarization and frequency, while the second uses a simple emissivity parameterization. The emissivity parameterization is found to significantly improve the fit to the observations, reducing both the bias and the standard deviation. Results from the assimilation of brightness temperatures are compared with those from assimilating a retrieved ice concentration in the context of initializing a coupled ice–ocean model for an area along the east coast of Canada. It is found that with the emissivity parameterization the assimilation of brightness temperatures produces ice concentration analyses that are in slightly better agreement with operational ice charts than when assimilating an ice concentration retrieval, with the most significant improvements during the melt season.

Corresponding author address: Andrea Scott, Environment Canada, 2121 TransCanada Hwy., Dorval QC H9P 1J3, Canada. E-mail: ka3scott@engmail.uwaterloo.ca

Abstract

In this paper a method to directly assimilate brightness temperatures from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) to produce ice concentration analyses within a three-dimensional variational data assimilation system is investigated. To assimilate the brightness temperatures a simple radiative transfer model is used as the forward model that maps the state vector to the observation space. This allows brightness temperatures to be modeled for all channels as a function of the total ice concentration, surface wind speed, sea surface temperature, ice temperature, vertically integrated water vapor, and vertically integrated cloud liquid water. The brightness temperatures estimated by the radiative transfer model are sensitive to the specified values for the sea ice emissivity. In this paper, two methods of specifying the sea ice emissivity are compared. The first uses a constant value for each polarization and frequency, while the second uses a simple emissivity parameterization. The emissivity parameterization is found to significantly improve the fit to the observations, reducing both the bias and the standard deviation. Results from the assimilation of brightness temperatures are compared with those from assimilating a retrieved ice concentration in the context of initializing a coupled ice–ocean model for an area along the east coast of Canada. It is found that with the emissivity parameterization the assimilation of brightness temperatures produces ice concentration analyses that are in slightly better agreement with operational ice charts than when assimilating an ice concentration retrieval, with the most significant improvements during the melt season.

Corresponding author address: Andrea Scott, Environment Canada, 2121 TransCanada Hwy., Dorval QC H9P 1J3, Canada. E-mail: ka3scott@engmail.uwaterloo.ca
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