Snow crystals and depth hoar, the larger connected crystal that forms in regions of temperature gradients, showing the complexity of snow grain structure that microwave measurements are helping unravel. Credit: Picard et al., 2022, Figure 9
Source: AGU Advances
Editors’ Highlights are summaries of recent papers by AGU’s journal editors.

Snow is a complex medium which exhibits structure on different scales, structure which matters for retrieving macrophysical properties of the snow pack. Through detailed and painstaking research, Picard et al. [2022] demonstrate how they can relate microwave measurements of the snow pack bo both its microstructure and the size of its individual grains.  By modeling the snow in terms of two scaling parameters, one related to the grain size, the other defining what they call polydispersity, they outline a way of physically interpreting microwave measurements of snowpack. Their theory will help rationalize measurements of snow height and water equivalent, crucial factors in snow hydrology, and help embellish a multi-spectral view of snow properties.

Citation: Picard, G., Lowe, H., Domine, F., Arnaud, L., Larue, F., Favier, V. et al.
The microwave snow grain size: a new concept to predict satellite observations over snow-covered regions.
AGU Advances, 3, e2021AV000630.

—Bjorn Stevens, Editor, AGU Advances

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