SMOS Monitors a gigantic early melt in Greenland in quasi real time

As reported here (credit Ruth Mottram, DMI) and here, just a few days ago on April 11 and 12 more than 10% of Greenland surface melted. This is very significant at this time of year (see cutting below from here).

greenland melt

From the late seventies with SMMR, passive microwave sensors have already shown their ability to monitor ice caps.

SMOS, thanks to its L-band capacity is sensitive to layering in the snow/ice pack but liquid water on the surface will also change drastically brightness temperatures  and this is exactly what happened.

SMOS sees thus the brightness temperatures over Western Greenland decrease due to heavy surface melting.

The videos below show an animation of SMOS measurements over Greenland.

The the South Eastern part of Greenland, along the coast line, the brightness temperatures suddenly drop from relatively high values (> 240 K. orange colour) to values lower than 220 K. (light blue, green yellow).

HFigure : Animation showing SMOS brightness temperatures (L3 TB from CATDS) in H polarization, for an incidence angles ranging between 40 to 45°.

By Arnaud Mialon

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