Radar backscattering changes in Arctic sea ice from late summer to early autumn observed by space-borne X-band HH-polarization SAR
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- Radar backscattering changes in Arctic sea ice from late summer to early autumn observed by space-borne X-band HH-polarization SAR
- Park, Jeong-Won
Graber, Hans C.
Lee, Craig M.
- Remote Sensing; Imaging Science & Photographic Technology
- Sea Ice; Ice-albedo feedback; Melt pond; Radar backscattering
- Issue Date
- Park, Jeong-Won., et al. 2016. Radar backscattering changes in Arctic sea ice from late summer to early autumn observed by space-borne X-band HH-polarization SAR. Remote Sensing Letters, 7(6): 551-560.
- Melt ponds are believed to play an important role in sea ice
dynamics because they accelerate the melting of sea ice in the
warmer spring and summer months. Additionally, they are known
to absorb solar radiation rather than reflect it as the surrounding
sea ice does. However, the size and distribution of melt ponds are
highly variable, and thus, the contribution of melt ponds to sea ice
melting should differ based on the maturity of the melt pond.
Because of the harsh conditions of the Arctic, estimating the actual
surface changes via in situ measurements and/or optical remote
sensing data is difficult. In this study, we present a high-resolution
time-series analysis of the short-term variation of sea ice and melt
ponds over the Beaufort Sea using space-borne multispectral and
synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images. A KOMPSAT-3 (Korea Multi-
Purpose Satellite-3) optical image was used for an initial classification
of the surface types, and 15 TerraSAR-X SAR images covering
46 days in the 2014 Arctic summer were used to perform a dense
time-series analysis. The surface of the target sea ice was classified
into six categories based on spectral characteristics. The temporal
variation of the radar backscattering coefficient in each class
exhibited a distinct pattern, which was closely related to surface
changes. Overall, changes in the radar backscattering coefficient
indicated dynamic surface changes, except over pressure ridges.
All ice classes showed a two-step decrease in radar backscattering,
whereas snow-covered ice surfaces exhibited far fewer changes
compared to bare ice surfaces. The surfaces adjacent to ponds
showed stronger negative decreases than other classes. The
changes in dark melt pond classes presented a complex non-linear
decrease, which differed from the stepwise decrease of blue melt
ponds. These observations can be used for important modelling
studies of surface melting/freezing rates and to infer the variation
over large areas using remote sensing data.
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