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Retrieval of advanced melt season parameters over first-year sea ice using satellite remote sensing


Project start
Project end
Type of project
Project theme
Sea ice
Project topic
Climate research
Remote sensing
Sea ice

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Fieldwork region
Cambridge Bay
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 69.1168641, -105.0596814

Fieldwork start
Fieldwork end

Project details

Science / project plan

Satellite microwave observation techniques are essential for accurate, regional-scale, assessments of essential climate variables (ECVs) sea ice melting state and surface albedo during the spring-summer sea ice melting period. It follows that ECV detection will facilitate the study of coupled bio-geophysical processes. This study focuses on linking key seasonal timings and spatial distributions of ECVs to synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, with current focus on C-band frequency radar descriptors as made available by polar orbiting SARs such as Radarsat-2. Field and satellite based measurements of polarimetric C-band backscatter from melting first-year sea ice will be collected coincident to surface roughness and permittivity data used for explanation of dominant radar scattering mechanisms. The sea ice melting state will be assessed using micrometeorology and snow and sea ice state variable measurements. Melt pond fraction, a proxy for surface albedo, will be measured at multiple scales using helicopter- and UAV-based aerial imagery.  This project is also a development and demonstration opportunity for melting sea ice information retrievals from ESA Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 missions (and synergies therein). Accordingly, time series satellite SAR (Radarsat-2) and optical data (TBD), with Sentinel-1 and 2 development/demonstration capabilities, respectively, will be collected over the study site. 

Fieldwork site: Field camp, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada

PI: R. Scharien. PI: D.Barber

Project Participants: Dr. Randall Scharien (CEOS); Dr. Jens Ehn (CEOS); Jack Landy (CEOS); Dr. David Barber (CEOS); Kerri Warner (COES)

Fieldwork summary/photo blog: Link to project summary report