Effect of sastrugi on snow bidirectional reflectance and its application to MODIS data

Katsuyuki Kuchiki, Teruo Aoki, Masashi Niwano, Hiroki Motoyoshi, Hironobu Iwabuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Snow surface roughness such as sastrugi on the Antarctic ice sheet can be a cause of error for remote sensing of snow parameters. The effect of sastrugi on snow bidirectional reflectance was assessed by a field experiment, model simulations, and satellite measurements. The hemispherical-directional reflectance factor (HDRF) of artificial sastrugi-like linear ridges measured at Nakasatsunai, Hokkaido, Japan, exhibited different patterns from that of a flat surface, with the difference of more than 50% for some geometries. A 3-D Monte Carlo radiative transfer model (MC model) reproduced both the HDRF measurements for the artificial ideal sastrugi and previous measurements for natural sastrugi at the South Pole. Furthermore, the sastrugi effect was applied to remote sensing. Failure to include the surface roughness in models for developing snow-grain-size lookup tables can lead to order-of-magnitude retrieval errors. Using the MC model and multiangle data derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer over the South Pole during the 2003-2004 summer, the sastrugi and snow parameters were retrieved. The height-to-width ratio of sastrugi reduced from 0.1 to 0.02, whereas the azimuth angle was nearly constant within the range of 0-30 during the summer. The snow grain size showed a seasonal variation, which depended on the spectral channel. These retrieved parameters were consistent with existing ground measurements. The results suggest that a combination of multiangle data and a 3-D radiative transfer model can be used to quantitatively estimate surface roughness, along with snow grain size, on ice sheets.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberD18110
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of sastrugi on snow bidirectional reflectance and its application to MODIS data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this