Greenland 2012 melt event effects on CryoSat-2 radar altimetry

Johan Nilsson, Paul Travis Vallelonga, Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen, Louise Sandberg Sørensen, René Forsberg, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Motohiro Hirabayashi, Kumiko Goto-Azuma, Christine S. Hvidberg, Helle A. Kjær, Kazuhide Satow

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    CryoSat-2 data are used to study elevation changes over an area in the interior part of the Greenland Ice Sheet during the extreme melt event in July 2012. The penetration of the radar signal into dry snow depends heavily on the snow stratigraphy, and the rapid formation of refrozen ice layers can bias the surface elevations obtained from radar altimetry. We investigate the change in CryoSat-2 waveforms and elevation estimates over the melt event and interpret the findings by comparing in situ surface and snow pit observations from the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling Project camp. The investigation shows a major transition of scattering properties around the area, and an apparent elevation increase of 56±26 cm is observed in reprocessed CryoSat-2 data. We suggest that this jump in elevation can be explained by the formation of a refrozen melt layer that raised the reflective surface, introducing a positive elevation bias.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Pages (from-to)3919-3926
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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