The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 1871-1914, 2012
www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/6/1871/2012/
doi:10.5194/tcd-6-1871-2012
© Author(s) 2012. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in TC.
A method for sea ice thickness and concentration analysis based on SAR data and a thermodynamic model
J. Karvonen1, B. Cheng1, T. Vihma1, M. Arkett2, and T. Carrieres2
1Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Helsinki, PB 503, 00101, Finland
2Canadian Ice Service, 373 Sussex drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H3, Canada

Abstract. An analysis of ice thickness distribution is a challenge, particularly in a seasonal sea ice zone with strongly dynamic ice motion field, such as the Gulf of St. Lawrence off Canada. We present a method for ice concentration and thickness analysis combining modelling of sea ice thermodynamics and detection of ice motion on the basis of space-borne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data. Thermodynamic evolution of sea ice thickness in the Gulf of St. Lawrence was simulated for two winters, 2002–2003 and 2008–2009. The basin-scale ice thickness was controlled by atmospheric forcing, but the spatial distribution of ice thickness and concentration could not be explained by thermodynamics only. SAR data were applied to detect ice motion and ice surface structure during these two winters. The SAR analysis is based on estimation of ice motion between SAR image pairs and analysis of the local SAR texture statistics. Including SAR data analysis brought a significant added value to the results based on thermodynamics only. Our novel method combining the thermodynamic modelling and SAR yielded results that well match with the distribution of observations based on airborne Electromagnetic Induction (EM) method. Compared to the present operational method of producing ice charts for the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is based on visual interpretation of SAR data, the new method reveals much more detailed and physically based information on spatial distribution of ice thickness.

Citation: Karvonen, J., Cheng, B., Vihma, T., Arkett, M., and Carrieres, T.: A method for sea ice thickness and concentration analysis based on SAR data and a thermodynamic model, The Cryosphere Discuss., 6, 1871-1914, doi:10.5194/tcd-6-1871-2012, 2012.
 
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