Tower Based C-Band Radar Observations of the Snowpack

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Recent research has shown the sensitivity of Sentinel-1 C-band (5.4 GHz) radar data to snow depth. This finding could potentially help fill a long standing gap in remote sensing, but the physical basis behind this sensitivity is not yet sufficiently understood. A field experiment was set-up at two sites in the US Rocky Mountains in Idaho to study the polarimetric radar response, continuously throughout multiple winter seasons. This paper describes the design and properties of the tower-based, fully polarimetric, C-band radar system and presents the first findings. Hourly measurements were made during the winters of 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 at two different sites in Idaho. When studying the time domain responses, the scattering from the snow volume, the ground surface and multiple bounces can be discerned.