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The authors propose a new sea ice detection method for a rotating Ku-band scatterometer with dual-polarization capability, such as SeaWinds on the Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT), based on probabilistic distances to ocean wind and sea ice geophysical model functions (GMFs) and evaluate its performance against other active and passive microwave algorithms. All the methods yield similar results during the sea ice growth season but show substantial differences during the spring and summer months. A detailed comparison based on high-resolution synthetic aperture radar and optical imagery shows that major discrepancies relate to newly formed, low-concentration, and water-saturated sea ice species. The new GMF-based algorithm for sea ice detection with QuikSCAT improves on the misclassification scores that affect other algorithms and provides daily sea ice masks at a 25-km resolution for use in ground processors that require the effective removal of sea ice contaminated pixels all year round.