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Arctic Sea Ice Type and Concentration Mapping Using Passive and Active Microwave Sensors

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4 Author(s)

The mapping of ice type concentrations in the Arctic is important for commercial operations and for climate-related research. Algorithms based on moderate-resolution passive microwave sensors for mapping first-year ice and multiyear ice concentrations suffer from a number of known problems. In this paper, it has been shown that QuikSCAT scatterometer data can add complimentary information to that available from passive microwave, which can assist in separating different ice classes. Specifically, we identify a class of ice that exhibits a passive microwave signature which is characteristic of first-year ice, but has a scatterometer signature which is typical of multiyear ice. We track the evolution and distribution of this new ice class throughout the Arctic during the winter season of 2003-2004 and compare the results against the U.S. National Ice Center (NIC) ice charts. It has been found that the new ice class is predominantly multiyear ice and is especially prevalent in the Fram Strait and the high Arctic regions north of the islands Franz Josef Land and Severnaya Zemlya. A simple algorithm has been proposed that enables a passive microwave-based partial ice concentration algorithm (for example, the NT algorithm based on Special Sensor Microwave/Imager data) to be adapted using QuikSCAT scatterometer data, so that the new ice class is corrected from the first-year ice class to the multiyear ice category. The algorithm performance is measured against the NIC ice charts. We provide a discussion regarding the possible physical causes of the effects that have been observed and described

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 12 )