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SAR image statistics related to atmospheric drag over sea ice

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1 Author(s)
B. A. Burns ; Alfred Wegener Inst. for Polar & Marine Res., Bremerhaven, West Germany

The possibility of using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to distinguish sea-ice regions with different atmospheric drag is explored. Both the amplitude of the radar return and statistics derived from SAR image data are examined. Roughness statistics data from several pack-ice areas are used in a backscatter model to predict the return from surfaces with measured drag coefficients. The results suggest that the scattering coefficient for typical radar wavelengths is insensitive to the roughness elements responsible for the observed drag coefficient variations over pack ice free of major ridges. For marginal ice zones, where ice concentration and floe deformation contribute to atmospheric drag, a simple model for the atmospheric boundary layer is used to provide qualitative relationships between drag coefficient and regional ice properties (ice concentration, floe size distribution, floe edge density) derivable from SAR data. Simple algorithms to produce maps of ice concentration and edge density are outlined and applied to 23.5-cm SAR digital image data

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 2 )