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Polarimetric data of sea ice in preparation for RADARSAT-2

Bernd Scheuchl (1), Ian Cumming(1) , Gordon Davidson(2) , Dean Flett(3) , and Gordon Staples(4)

(1) University of British Columbia, 2356 Main Mall, V6T 1Z4 Vancouver, BC, Canada
(2) Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates, 13800 Commerce Parkway, V6K 1E9 Richmond, BC, Canada
(3) Canadian Ice Service, 373 Sussex Drive, K1A OH3 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
(4) RADARSAT International, 13800 Commerce Parkway, V6K 1E9 Richmond, BC, Canada


RADARSAT-2 will be the first commercial satellite capable of providing polarimetric data on an operational basis. In preparation for this launch the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has started a variety of initiatives to prepare potential users of RADARSAT-2 data for the new capabilities of the sensor. The activities range from an online tutorial to airborne data acquisition using the Environment Canada operated CV-580 polarimetric SAR. In this CSA funded project we are analysing CV-580 C-band data of sea ice acquired off Prince Edward Island (Canada). Auxiliary data like ice analysis charts from the Canadian Ice Service and temperature information are also available. The SAR data is analysed using a variety of methods, from single parameter analysis to parameter spaces in two and more dimensions and classification using the full polarimetric information. Signature analysis is focussed on parameters and parameter groups recommended for sea ice classification in the literature. The Wishart classifier preceded by an Entropy/Anisotropy/alpha-angle classification is used to classify the scene. Interpretation of this result is still a manual step and we are investigating methods to reduce human interaction. The effect of the incidence angle on signatures and classification results is also analysed. After project completion the Canadian Space Agency will make the data as well as the analysis results available to interested parties. The differences between the airborne data and RADARSAT-2 data are emphasised by providing a simulated product that approximates the spaceborne product.


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