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Envisat ASAR Ross Sea Demonstration Project

Pablo Clemente-Col√≥n(1) , Towanda Street(1) , Bradley Johnson(2) , Don Atwood(3) , and Ronald Kwok(2)

(1) U.S. National Ice Center, 4251 Suitland Road, Washington, D.C. 20395, United States
(2) NASA, GSFC, Greenbelt, MD 20771, United States
(3) ASF, UAF, Fairbanks, AK 99775, United States


An ESA Category-1 project to demonstrate Envisat ASAR acquisitions at the McMurdo station in Antarctica in support of sea ice and iceberg monitoring was undertaken in the spring and early summer of 2005. The demonstration was a collaboration of the U.S. National Ice Center (NIC), the Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the ESA AO for WMO proposal id 2377. After significant upgrades were made to the McMurdo station to allow for the downlink of Envisat data, ASAR Wide Swath observations were acquired for several months over the Ross Sea. The project aimed at studying the applicability of routine ASAR data for sea ice and iceberg tracking in the Ross Sea and the feasibility of RADARSAT Geophysical Processor System (RGPS) approaches using ASAR data if routine observations were made available.

During the project period, ASAR data were collected roughly every 35 hours and transmitted to the NASA White Sands ground station in New Mexico via the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS). From White Sands, the data were then shipped via tapes to ASF for SAR processing using Vexcel processing code. The detected imagery were then sent via ftp to the JPL for RGPS processing and analysis. The effort provided ASAR mosaics and RGPS products from which sea ice dynamics (drift vectors, deformation, etc.), iceberg tracking, and iceberg-sea ice interaction can be in the Ross Sea can be studied. It also demonstrated the capability of McMurdo to routinely acquire Envisat data, a potential pathway for Antarctic data from the satellite to the NIC and users, the capability of ASAR processing at ASF, and the capability for "RGPS" processing using Envisat ASAR data at JPL.



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