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Radar Polarimetry of Sea Ice

Mr. Mark Drinkwater (1)

(1) ESA-ESTEC, Keplerlaan 1, 2200 AG Noordwijk, Netherlands


Dating back to 1988, polarimetric SAR imaging has been demonstrated from a variety of airborne platforms but in only a relatively limited variety of polar sea ice locations. Data were first acquired by NASA-JPL in the context of the SSMI calibration and validation campaign using the C-, L-, and P-band AIRSAR system. These flights were performed in the Beaufort, Chukchi and Bering Seas. Subsequently, data were acquired by the Danish EMISAR airborne system in the Greenland and Baltic Seas. To-date, however, the only spaceborne polarimetric sea-ice data have been acquired from the Space Shuttle, in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica during the SIR-C mission. These limited cases are currently being supplemented by ASAR alternating polarisation acquisitions from Envisat, thus helping to broaden our knowledge on the discriminatory capability of C-band. This presentation will review the historical background to polarimetric remote sensing of sea ice, together with the regional characteristics of the sea-ice data from these different experiments. Examples of lessons learned will be provided from previous attempts to classify sea ice, and illustrated with examples from microwave polarimetric and multi-frequency data from the above cases.



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