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Keywords:

  • SWE;
  • arctic;
  • microwave model;
  • passive microwaves;
  • remote sensing;
  • snow model

[1] Satellite-passive microwave remote sensing has been extensively used to estimate snow water equivalent (SWE) in northern regions. Although passive microwave sensors operate independent of solar illumination and the lower frequencies are independent of atmospheric conditions, the coarse spatial resolution introduces uncertainties to SWE retrievals due to the surface heterogeneity within individual pixels. In this article, we investigate the coupling of a thermodynamic multilayered snow model with a passive microwave emission model. Results show that the snow model itself provides poor SWE simulations when compared to field measurements from two major field campaigns. Coupling the snow and microwave emission models with successive iterations to correct the influence of snow grain size and density significantly improves SWE simulations. This method was further validated using an additional independent data set, which also showed significant improvement using the two-step iteration method compared to standalone simulations with the snow model.