Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 51, Issue 3–4, pp 239–258 | Cite as

Climate sensitivity studies of the Greenland ice sheet using satellite AVHRR, SMMR, SSM/I and in situ data

  • K. Steffen
  • W. Abdalati
  • J. Stroeve
Ice Sheets as Climate Indicators


The feasibility of using satellite data for climate research over the Greenland ice sheet is discussed. In particular, we demonstrate the usefulness of Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Local Area Coverage (LAC) and Global Area Coverage (GAC) data for narrow-band albedo retrieval. Our study supports the use of lower resolution AVHRR (GAC) data for process studies over most of the Greenland ice sheet. Based on LAC data time series analysis, we can resolve relative albedo changes on the order of 2–5%. In addition, we examine Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) and Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I) passive microwave data for snow typing and other signals of climatological significance. Based on relationships between in situ measurements and horizontally polarized 19 and 37 GHz observations, wet snow regions are identified. The wet snow regions increase in aerial percentage from 9% of the total ice surface in June to a maximum of 26% in August 1990. Furthermore, the relationship between brightness temperatures and accumulation rates in the northeastern part of Greenland is described. We found a consistent increase in accumulation rate for the northeastern part of the ice sheet from 1981 to 1986.


Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer Microwave Radiometer Albedo Change Data Time Series Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Steffen
    • 1
  • W. Abdalati
    • 1
  • J. Stroeve
    • 1
  1. 1.Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental SciencesUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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