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Seasonal to interannual variability in Antarctic sea-ice surface melt

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2 Author(s)
M. R. Drinkwater ; Eur. Space Res. & Technol. Centre, Noordwijk, Netherlands ; Xiang Liu

Satellite remote sensing time-series images are used to illustrate the spatial and temporal variability in Antarctic-wide sea-ice surface melting during the austral summer. Combinations of collocated data from the Active Microwave Instrument onboard the ERS-1/2 spacecraft, RadarSat synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and special sensor microwave/imager (SSM/I) passive microwave radiometer are used in characterizing the effects of surface melting on measured values of the normalized backscatter cross-section and brightness temperature, respectively. An algorithm is developed from observed signatures to map interannual variations in the summer season melt onset and the cumulative number of melt days throughout each austral summer from 1992 to 1998. Results indicate that antarctic sea-ice surface melting is sparse and relatively short-lived, in contrast to the protracted Arctic summer melt season. Regions consistently experiencing melt periods of 15 days or longer duration are focused around the Antarctic Peninsula, primarily in the northwest Weddell and Bellingshausen Seas

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 4 )