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Application Of Radar Altimetry To Estimate Sea Ice Extent and Thickness East of Greenland

Lisa Pertusini(1) , Alberto MOLTENI(1) , and Henriette Skourup(2)

(1) Politecnico di Milano, v.Castelnuovo 7, 22100 COMO, Italy
(2) Danish National Space Center, Juliane Maries Vej 30, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark


This study investigates the use of space borne radar altimetry to estimate the sea ice conditions and the sea ice thickness in the sea east of Greenland.

The data analyzed are ENVISAT radar altimeter (RA-2) data.

In order to investigate sea ice extent, the shapes of the waveform are studied as they are an indicator of the surface properties depending from the surface roughness. Three parameters are extracted from the shape of the waveforms in order to analyze sea ice conditions: -backscatter coefficient -peak power of the waveform -pulse peakiness parameter Furthermore the sea ice freeboard height are measured by the spaceborne radar altimetry by discriminating the specular waveforms from the diffuse and thereby sea ice thickness estimates are derived.

The RA-2 data used in this analysis spans a whole year: from the 15th of March 2004 until the 4th of April 2005. Four repeated tracks (sampling period 35 days) are analyzed over the eastern Greenland sea in order to point out changes in the data originating from the sea ice changes over the seasons, e.g. accumulation of snow, and meltwater.


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                 Last modified: 07.10.03