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The European Space Agency SnowSAR instrument is a side-looking, dual-polarised (VV/VH), X/Ku band synthetic aperture radar (SAR), operable from various sizes of aircraft. Between 2010 and 2013, the instrument was deployed at several sites in Northern Finland, Austrian Alps and northern Canada. The purpose of the airborne campaigns was to measure the backscattering properties of snow-covered terrain to support the development of snow water equivalent retrieval techniques using SAR. SnowSAR was deployed in Sodankylä, Northern Finland, for a single flight mission in March 2011 and 12 missions at two sites (tundra and boreal forest) in the winter of 2011–2012. Over the Austrian Alps, three flight missions were performed between November 2012 and February 2013 over three sites located in different elevation zones representing a montane valley, Alpine tundra and a glacier environment. In Canada, a total of two missions were flown in March and April 2013 over sites in the Trail Valley Creek watershed, Northwest Territories, representative of the tundra snow regime. This paper introduces the airborne SAR data and coincident in situ information on land cover, vegetation and snow properties. To facilitate easy access to the data record, the datasets described here are deposited in a permanent data repository (, Lemmetyinen et al., 2021).


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.