Journal cover Journal topic
The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/tc-2016-175
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
03 Nov 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper is under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).
Measuring sea ice concentration in the Arctic Ocean using SMOS
Carolina Gabarro1, Antonio Turiel1, Pedro Elosegui1,2, Joaquim A. Pla-Resina1, and Marcos Portabella1 1Barcelona Expert Center. Institute of Marine Sciences, CSIC, Passeig Maritim Barceloneta 39 Barcelona, Spain
2Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Haystack Observatory, Westford, MA, USA
Abstract. We present a new method to estimate sea ice concentration in the Arctic Ocean using brightness temperature observations from the Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) interferometric satellite. The method, which employs a Maximum Likelihood Estimator (MLE), exploits the marked difference in radiative properties between sea ice and seawater, in particular when observed over the wide range of satellite viewing angles afforded by SMOS. Observations at L-band frequencies such as those from SMOS (i.e., 1.4 GHz, or equivalently 21-cm wavelength) are advantageous to remote sensing of sea ice because the atmosphere is virtually transparent at that frequency. We find that sea ice concentration is well determined (correlations of about 0.75) as compared to estimates from other sensors such as the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I and SSMIS). We also find that the efficacy of the method decreases under thin sea ice conditions (ice thickness <~0.6 m). This result is expected because thin ice is partially transparent at L-band thus causing sea ice concentration to be underestimated. We therefore argue that SMOS estimates can be a compelling complement to estimates of ice concentration of both thick and thin sea ice from other satellite sensors such as the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E and AMSR-2) or SSMIS, enabling a synergistic monitoring of pan-Arctic sea ice conditions.

Citation: Gabarro, C., Turiel, A., Elosegui, P., Pla-Resina, J. A., and Portabella, M.: Measuring sea ice concentration in the Arctic Ocean using SMOS, The Cryosphere Discuss., doi:10.5194/tc-2016-175, in review, 2016.
Carolina Gabarro et al.
Carolina Gabarro et al.
Carolina Gabarro et al.

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We present a new method to estimate sea ice concentration in the Arctic Ocean using brightness temperature observations from the Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite. The method, which employs a Maximum Likelihood Estimator. Observations at L-band frequencies such as those from SMOS (i.e., 1.4 GHz) are advantageous to remote sensing of sea ice because the atmosphere is virtually transparent at that frequency.
We present a new method to estimate sea ice concentration in the Arctic Ocean using brightness...
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