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Evolution de la surface de neige sur le plateau Antarctique : observation in situ et satellite

Abstract : The snow surface on the Antarctic Plateau plays an important role to study the surface mass and energy balance. Its characteristics depend on interactions between the atmospheric conditions and the top of the snowpack such as snowfall, snow remobilization by the wind and metamorphism. All the surface characteristics like type of crystals, roughness, density, albedo … are rounded up the expression surface state. Objective of this thesis is to study the surface state and its evolution due to atmospheric conditions, from satellite and in situ observations. Analyzing together in situ and satellite observations, respectively from infrared pictures of the snow surface (developing an algorithm to study the image texture) and microwave emission of snow (using the polarization ratio that principally depends on the snow density near the surface), showed that the surface quickly evolves at Dome C. Specifically, periods where hoar covers totally the surface are observed and represents around 45% of time. Surface evolution is also characterized by rapid and high increase of the surface height which could be widely higher than the mean annual accumulation of 8 cm (to 20 cm in 2 hours). The wind is essential for the snow surface evolution. Especially, these works showed that wind direction changes during the disappearance of hoar crystals (perpendicular to the prevailing direction, i.e. the Southwest). Finally, correlation between presence of hoar on the surface and polarization ratio extended these results for the 10 years of satellite observation. It shows the potential to detect precipitation events from passive microwave observation. Modeling microwave emission at 19 and 37 GHz was performed at Dome C by a radiative transfer model (DMRT-ML). Snowpack properties (grain size, density and temperature) used as model inputs were measured during the 2010 – 2011 summer field campaign. Simulations results showed that the snow density near the surface is mainly responsible of the variations of polarization ratio. Surface density was thus estimated at Dome C for 10 years. The density evolution show a multi-annual trend of 10 kg m-3 a-1 decreasing, superimposed by an annual cycle and daily / weekly variations. In situ measurements of density and hoar observation are coincident with the rapid evolutions of estimated density. The substantial multi-annual decrease of density should be included in surface mass balance study because the causes are probably an increase of precipitation or a decrease of wind speed. Similar method was used to deduce the evolution of the near-surface snow surface for whole Antarctica. Spatial variations bring out a clear decrease trend of surface density over a large area between Dome C and Vostok and an area in the East of Dome C where density increases. For the whole Antarctic, the mean polarization ratio shows large variations which correspond to variations of the density stratification of the snowpack. Spatial altimetry would be useful to confirm these results.
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Nicolas Champollion. Evolution de la surface de neige sur le plateau Antarctique : observation in situ et satellite. Sciences de la Terre. Université de Grenoble, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013GRENU016⟩. ⟨tel-00934480⟩

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