Alex Langlois

Alex Langlois
Université de Sherbrooke | UdeS · Department of Applied Geomatics

PhD

About

110
Publications
18,299
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,694
Citations
Introduction
I am specialized in snow remote sensing and the geophysical processes that regulate its temporal, spatial and vertical evolution. I also work on the close and complex interactions between the northern cryosphere and the changing climate. Since 2016, I co-chair the NASA Snow Working Group – Remote Sensing (iSWGR) and act as National Correspondent for the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS).
Additional affiliations
January 2012 - present
Université de Sherbrooke
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
September 2003 - July 2007
University of Manitoba
Position
  • PhD student / ArcticNet corodinator

Publications

Publications (110)
Article
Full-text available
Changes in snowpack associated with climatic warming has drastic impacts on surface energy balance in the cryosphere. Yet, traditional monitoring techniques, such as punctual measurements in the field, do not cover the full snowpack spatial and temporal variability, which hampers efforts to upscale measurements to the global scale. This variability...
Article
The Arctic has warmed at twice the global average over recent decades, which has led to a reduction in the spatial extent and mass balance of snow. The increase in occurrence of winter extreme events such as rain-on-snow, blizzards, and heat waves has a significant impact on snow thickness and density. Dense snowpack conditions can decrease or comp...
Article
Full-text available
Increased surface temperatures (0.7°C per decade) in the Arctic affects polar ecosystems by reducing the extent and duration of annual snow cover. Monitoring of these important ecosystems needs detailed information on snow cover properties at resolutions (< 100 m) that influence ecological habitats and permafrost thaw. A machine learning method usi...
Poster
Full-text available
La région Arctique est particulièrement fragilisée par les changements climatiques, où le réchauffement est deux à trois fois plus élevées qu’ailleurs sur la planète. On note une diminution massive de l’étendue et de l’épaisseur de la glace de mer, ce qui prolonge la période d’eau libre de glace et qui expose les côtes aux évènements de tempêtes pr...
Article
Full-text available
Topography and vegetation play a major role in sub-pixel variability of Arctic snowpack properties but are not considered in current passive microwave (PMW) satellite SWE retrievals. Simulation of sub-pixel variability of snow properties is also problematic when downscaling snow and climate models. In this study, we simplified observed variability...
Article
Considering the increased popularity for backcountry mountain recreation activities, potentially problematic snowpack interfaces are currently of great interest given their impact on snow stability. The identification of interface vertical locations and spatial variability in the snowpack is essential for avalanche danger forecasting. The Gaspé Pen...
Preprint
Full-text available
Increased surface temperatures (0.7℃ per decade) in the Arctic affects polar ecosystems by reducing the extent and duration of annual snow cover. Monitoring of these important ecosystems needs detailed information on snow cover properties (depth and density) at resolutions (< 100 m) that influence ecological habitats and permafrost thaw. As arctic...
Article
Full-text available
Continuous and spatially distributed data of snow mass (water equivalent of snow cover, SWE) from automatic ground-based measurements are increasingly required for climate change studies and for hydrological applications (snow hydrological-model improvement and data assimilation). We present and compare four new-generation sensors, now commercializ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Changes in snowpack associated with climatic warming has drastic impacts on surface energy balance in the cryosphere. Yet, traditional monitoring techniques, such as punctual measurements in the field, do not cover the full snowpack spatial and temporal variability, which hampers efforts to upscale measurements to the global scale. This variability...
Article
Full-text available
Satellite based passive microwave observations provide the best available continuous observational estimates of global snow water storage due to their broad geographic footprint and low sensitivity to clouds and precipitation. However, these observations are subject to substantial uncertainty due to the complex radiative properties of snow and from...
Preprint
Full-text available
Continuous and spatially distributed data of snow mass (snow water equivalent, SWE) from automatic ground-based measurements are increasingly required for climate change studies and for hydrological applications (snow hydrological model improvement and data assimilation). We present and compare four new-generation non-invasive sensors that are base...
Article
Full-text available
The impact of high latitude climate warming on Arctic snow cover and its insulating properties has key implications for the surface and soil energy balance. Few studies have investigated specific trends in Arctic snowpack properties because there is a lack of long-term in situ observations and current detailed snow models fail to represent the main...
Conference Paper
Snow cover in the mountain ranges of Canada has great social economical and environmental impacts on Canadians. It is one of the main drivers for winter tourism, attracting tourists both nationwide, and internationally to ski resorts, visit National Parks, and snowmobile various areas. However, the mountains also include avalanche terrain, and if t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Topography and vegetation play a major role in sub-pixel variability of Arctic snowpack properties, but are not considered in current passive microwave (PMW) satellite SWE retrievals. Simulation of sub-pixel variability of snow properties is also problematic when downscaling snow and climate models. In this study, we simplified observed variability...
Article
Full-text available
In northern Canada, the annual peak in river discharge is dominated by the seasonal input of snowmelt. As such, climatic changes that alter snowmelt properties and timing will have cascading impacts on the hydrological system as the Arctic warms. Geochemical tracers provide a tool to characterize the various processes governing the seasonal evoluti...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in mass, extent, duration, and physical properties of snow are key elements for studying associated climate change feedbacks in northern regions. In this study, we analyzed snowpack physical properties along a 'mega' transect from 47°N to 83°N (4,000 km) in northeastern Canada, which includes marked transitions between ecozones from boreal...
Article
Full-text available
Vegetation optical depth (VOD) retrieved from microwave radiometry correlates with the total amount of water in vegetation, based on theoretical and empirical evidence. Because the total amount of water in vegetation varies with relative water content (as well as with biomass), this correlation further suggests a possible relationship between VOD a...
Article
Full-text available
Soil emissivity of Arctic regions is a key parameter for assessing surface properties from microwave brightness temperature (Tb) measurements. Particularly in winter, frozen soil permittivity and roughness are two poorly characterized unknowns that must be considered. Here, we show that after removing snow, the 3D soil roughness can be accurately i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Vegetation optical depth (VOD) retrieved from microwave radiometry correlates with the total amount of water in vegetation, based on theoretical and empirical evidence. Because the total amount of water in vegetation varies with relative water content (as well as with biomass), this correlation further suggests a possible relationship between VOD a...
Article
Full-text available
Monitoring the evolution of snow on the ground and lake ice—two of the most important components of the changing northern environment—is essential. In this paper, we describe a lightweight, compact and autonomous 24 GHz frequency-modulated continuous-wave (FMCW) radar system for freshwater ice thickness and snow mass (snow water equivalent, SWE) me...
Article
Full-text available
The extent, timing and duration of seasonal freeze/thaw (FT) state exerts dominant control on boreal forest carbon, water and energy cycle processes. Recent and on-going L-Band (≈1.4 GHz) spaceborne missions have the potential to provide enhanced information on FT state over large geographic regions with rapid revisit time. However, the low spatial...
Article
Full-text available
Geophysical properties of snow are known to be sensitive to climate variability and are of primary importance for hydrological and climatological process simulations. Numerous studies using passive microwaves have attempted to quantify snow from space, but the methods suffer from poor spatial resolution retrievals, combined with a great sensitivity...
Article
Full-text available
In the field of biological conservation, mathematical modeling has been an indispensable tool to advance our understanding of population dynamics. Modeling rare and endangered species with complex ecophysiological tools can be challenging due to the constraints imposed by data availability. One strategy to overcome the mismatch between what we are...
Poster
Full-text available
1 Why Should we care about snow ? The lack of in-situ data in the Arctic and the problem about accessibility to these region constraints the traditional sampling over a year. While thermodynamic models such as CROCUS or SNOWPACK worked well in alpine area, they still need further calibrations for polar applications 1. 2 How to proceed? First snow c...
Article
This paper investigates the potential for the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) L-band radiometer to estimate the percentage of frozen soil inside a pixel during fall periods. To evaluate the spatial and temporal variability of the autumn freeze in northeastern Canada boreal forest, a network of compact and self-recording temperature sensors (iBu...
Article
Full-text available
Accurately simulating the physical properties of Arctic snowpacks is essential for modeling the surface energy budget and the permafrost thermal regime. We show that the detailed snow physics models Crocus and SNOWPACK cannot simulate critical snow physical variables. Both models simulate basal layers with high density and high thermal conductivity...
Poster
Significant warming has occurred in the Arctic over the past four decades at a much faster rate then the rest of our planet. Negative anomalies of spatial and temporal trends snow and permafrost are now relatively well documented. Those trends lead to a series of strong climate-related feedbacks, which in turn contribute to the arctic amplification...
Article
Full-text available
High-latitude areas are very sensitive to global warming, which has significant impacts on soil temperatures and associated processes governing permafrost evolution. This study aims to improve first-layer soil temperature retrievals during winter. This key surface state variable is strongly affected by snow’s geophysical properties and their associ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent advancement in the understanding of snow-microwave interactions has helped to isolate the considerable potential for radar-based retrieval of snow water equivalent (SWE). There are however, few datasets available to address spatial uncertainties, such as the influence of snow microstructure, at scales relevant to space-borne application. In...
Article
Full-text available
The snow thermodynamic multi-layer model SNOWPACK was developed to address the risk of avalanches by simulating the vertical properties of snow. Risk and stability assessments are based on the simulation of the vertical variability of snow microstructure, as well as on snow cohesion parameters. Previous research has shown systematic error in grain...
Article
Full-text available
In summer 2016, more than 50 Arctic Barren Ground caribous were found dead on Prince Charles Island (Nunavut, Canada), a species recently classified as threatened. Neither predator nor sign of diseases was observed and reported. The main hypothesis is that caribous were not able to access food due to a very dense snow surface, created by a strong s...
Article
The landscape freeze/thaw (FT) state plays an important role in local, regional and global weather and climate, but is difficult to monitor. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite mission provides hemispheric estimates of landscape FT state at a spatial resolution of approximately 36^2 km^2. Previous validation studies of SMAP and other...
Article
Many passive microwave remote sensing applications such as land surface temperature, snow water equivalent and soil moisture retrievals need to take into account a soil parameterization to the overall surface signal emission. Soil emission modeling presents large uncertainties when the soil is frozen. In this paper, an empirical retrieval method is...
Article
Full-text available
The spatial and temporal distributions of rain-on-snow (ROS) events across the Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) remain poorly understood owing to their sporadic nature in time and space. This situation motivated the development of remote sensing detection algorithms. This paper uses a large meteorological dataset across the CAA to adapt an existin...
Article
Full-text available
Over one-third of the global land area undergoes a seasonal transition between predominantly frozen and non-frozen conditions each year, with the land surface freeze/thaw (FT) state a significant control on hydrological and biospheric processes over northern land areas and at high elevations. The NASA Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission pro...
Article
In Québec, Eastern Canada, snowmelt runoff contributes more than 30% of the annual energy reserve for hydroelectricity production, and uncertainties in annual maximum snow water equivalent (SWE) over the region are one of the main constraints for improved hydrological forecasting. Current satellite-based methods for mapping SWE over Québec's main h...
Article
This paper reviews four commonly-used microwave radiative transfer models that take different electromagnetic approaches to simulate snow brightness temperature (TB): the Dense Media Radiative Transfer - Multi-Layer model (DMRT-ML), the Dense Media Radiative Transfer - Quasi-Crystalline Approximation Mie scattering of Sticky spheres (DMRT-QMS), the...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies have shown that northern vegetation has been growing in relation to a warming climate over the last four decades, especially across the transition zone between tundra and taiga. Shrub growth affects snow properties and the surface energy budget, which must be better studied to quantify shrub-snow-climate feedbacks. The objective of t...
Article
Full-text available
As interest in outdoor activities in remote areas is increasing, there is a strong need for improved avalanche forecasting at the regional scale. Due to important logistical and safety matters, avalanche terrain measurements (avalanche observations, snowpack profiles, and stability tests) are not always possible for practitioners/forecasters. An in...
Article
Peary caribou is the northernmost designatable unit for caribou species, and its population has declined by about 70% over the last three generations. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada identified difficult grazing conditions through the snow cover as being the most significant factor contributing to this decline. This stu...
Article
Full-text available
The study of glaciers and ice caps in remote and cloudy regions remains difficult using current remote sensing tools. Here the potential of stereo radargrammetry (SRG) with RADARSAT-2 Wide Ultra-Fine images is explored for DEM extraction, elevation changes and mass-balance calculations on Barnes Ice Cap (Nunavut, Canada). Over low-relief terrain su...
Conference Paper
The first year of SMAP brightness temperature (TB) time series was analyzed to characterize the response to surface freeze/thaw variations over two sites (northern boreal forest; Arctic tundra) using various in situ air, soil, and snow measurements as reference. The results show that the Normalized Polarization Ratio (NPR) can distinguish the lands...
Article
Full-text available
Currently observed climate warming in the Arctic has numerous consequences. Of particular relevance, the precipitation regime is modified where mixed and liquid precipitation can occur during the winter season leading to rain-on-snow (ROS) events. This phenomenon is responsible for ice crust formation, which has a significant impact on ecosystems (...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims to better understand and quantify the uncertainties in microwave snow emission models using the Dense Media Radiative Theory-Multilayer model (DMRT-ML) with in situ measurements of snow properties. We use surface-based radiometric measurements at 10.67, 19 and 37 GHz in boreal forest and subarctic environments and a new in situ data...
Article
Full-text available
The landscape freeze/thaw (F/T) state has an important impact on the surface energy balance, carbon fluxes, and hydrologic processes; the timing of spring melt is linked to active layer dynamics in permafrost areas. L-band (1.4 GHz) microwave emission could allow the monitoring of surface state dynamics due to its sensitivity to the pronounced perm...
Article
Full-text available
Grinnell and Terra Nivea Ice Caps are located on the southern Baffin Island, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. These relatively small ice caps have received little attention compared to the much larger ice masses further north. Their evolution can, however, give valuable information about the impact of the recent Arctic warming at lower...