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Comparison of ICESat Data With Airborne Laser Altimeter Measurements Over Arctic Sea Ice

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6 Author(s)
Kurtz, N.T. ; Joint Center for Earth Syst. Technol., Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD ; Markus, T. ; Cavalieri, D.J. ; Krabill, W.
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Surface elevation and roughness measurements from NASA's Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) are compared with high-resolution airborne laser altimeter measurements over the Arctic sea ice north of Alaska, which were taken during the March 2006 EOS Aqua Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer sea ice validation campaign. The comparison of the elevation measurements shows that they agree quite well with correlations of around 0.9 for individual shots and a bias of less than 2 cm. The differences are found to decrease quite rapidly when applying running means. The comparison of the roughness measurements show that there are significant differences between the two data sets, with ICESat generally having higher values. The roughness values are only moderately correlated on an individual-shot basis, but applying running means to the data significantly improves the correlations to as high as 0.9. For the conversion of the elevation measurements into snow-ice freeboard, ocean surface elevation estimates are made with the high-resolution laser altimeter data, as well as several methods using lower resolution ICESat data. Under optimum conditions, i.e., when leads that are larger than the ICESat footprint are present, the ICESat- and Airborne Topographic Mapper-derived freeboards are found to agree to within 2 cm. For other areas, ICESat tends to underestimate the freeboard by up to 9 cm.

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:46 ,  Issue: 7 )

Date of Publication:

July 2008

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