Experimental and model-based investigation of the links between snow bidirectional reflectance and snow microstructure

Dumont, Marie ; Flin, Frederic ; Malinka, Aleksey ; Brissaud, Olivier ; Hagenmuller, Pascal ; Lapalus, Philippe ; Lesaffre, Bernard ; Dufour, Anne ; Calonne, Neige ; Rolland du Roscoat, Sabine ; Ando, Edward

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<p align=justify>Snow stands out from materials at the Earth's surface owing to its unique optical properties. Snow optical properties are sensitive to the snow microstructure, triggering potent climate feedbacks. The impacts of snow microstructure on its optical properties such as reflectance are, to date, only partially understood. However, precise modelling of snow reflectance, particularly bidirectional reflectance, are required in many problems, e.g. to correctly process satellite data over snow-covered areas. This study presents a dataset that combines bidirectional reflectance measurements over 500-2500 nm and the X-ray tomography of the snow microstructure for three snow samples of two different morphological types. The dataset is used to evaluate the stereological approach from Malinka (2014) that relates snow optical properties to the chord length distribution in the snow microstructure. The mean chord length and specific surface area (SSA) retrieved with this approach from the albedo spectrum and those measured by the X-ray tomography are in excellent agreement. The analysis of the 3D images has shown that the random chords of the ice phase obey the gamma distribution with the shape parameter m taking the value approximately equal to or a little greater than 2. For weak and intermediate absorption (high and medium albedo), the simulated bidirectional reflectances reproduce the measured ones accurately but tend to slightly overestimate the anisotropy of the radiation. For such absorptions the use of the exponential law for the ice chord length distribution instead of the one measured with the X-ray tomography does not affect the simulated reflectance. In contrast, under high absorption (albedo of a few percent), snow microstructure and especially facet orientation at the surface play a significant role in the reflectance, particularly at oblique viewing and incidence.</p>
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