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A study of the polarimetric backscattering response of newly formed sea ice types under a large assortment of surface coverage was conducted using a ship-based C-band polarimetric radar system. Polarimetric backscattering results and physical data for 40 stations during the fall freeze-up of 2003, 2006, and 2007 are presented. Analysis of the copolarized correlation coefficient showed its sensitivity to both sea ice thickness and surface coverage and resulted in a statistically significant separation of ice thickness into two regimes: ice less than 6 cm thick and ice greater than 8 cm thick. A case study quantified the backscatter of a layer of snow infiltrated frost flowers on new sea ice, showing that the presence of the old frost flowers can enhance the backscatter by more than 6 dB. Finally, a statistical analysis of a series of temporal-spatial measurements over a visually homogeneous frost-flower-covered ice floe identified temperature as a significant, but not exclusive, factor in the backscattering measurements.