Analyses of the first aircraft multi-frequency, Polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data acquired over the southwestern Greenland ice sheet are presented. Data were collected on 31 August 1989 by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory SAR using the NASA DC-8 aircraft. Along with curvilinear patterns associated with large-scale morphologic features such as crevasses, lakes and streams, frequency and polarization dependencies are observed in the P-, L-and C-band image products. Model calculations that include firn grain-size and volumetric water content suggest that tonal variations in and between the images are attributable to large-scale variations in the snow-and ice-surface characteristics, especially snow wetness. In particular, systematic trends in back-scatter strength observed at C-band across regions of changing snow wetness are suggestive of a capability to delineate boundaries between snow facies. Ice lenses and ice pipes are the speculated cause for similar trends in P-band back-scatter. Finally, comparison between SEASAT SAR data collected in 1978 and these airborne data collected in 1989 indicate a remarkable stability of surface patterns associated with the locations of supraglacial lake and stream systems.