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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-148
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Review article 19 Jul 2018

Review article | 19 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Review of Radar Altimetry Techniques over the Arctic Ocean: Recent Progress and Future Opportunities for Sea Level and Sea Ice Research

Graham D. Quartly1, Eero Rinne2, Marcello Passaro3, Ole B. Andersen4, Salvatore Dinardo5, Sara Fleury6, Kevin Guerreiro6, Amandine Guillot7, Stefan Hendricks8, Andrey A. Kurekin1, Felix L. Müller3, Robert Ricker8, Henriette Skourup4, and Michel Tsamados9 Graham D. Quartly et al.
  • 1Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, PL1 3DH, UK
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Erik Palménin aukio 1, FI-00560 Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Deutsches Geodätisches Forschungsinstitut, Technische Universität München (DGFI-TUM), München, Germany
  • 4DTU Space, National Space Institute, Elektrovej Bygning 327, 2800 Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
  • 5He Space, Robert-Bosch-Strasse 7, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany
  • 6LEGOS, 4 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
  • 7Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), 18 Avenue Edouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
  • 8Alfred Wegener Institute, Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 9Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, Earth Sciences, University College London, London, UK

Abstract. There are numerous needs for monitoring sea level and sea ice in the Arctic, ranging from concern about changes in ice cover being both an indicator and a driver of long-term climate change to shipping interest in alternative routes and the associated risks to the safety of vessels and crew. Furthermore, sea level relative to the geoid allows us to quantify the geostrophic circulation, including any changes in the flow. Radar altimeters provide an important means of quantifying changes in sea level and sea-ice thickness, although there are increased complexities in the interpretation of their data over such a variable surface. This paper reviews the techniques for deriving useful geophysical information over a mix of leads and ice floes, covering the approaches for both conventional (low rate mode) altimetry and the newer delay-Doppler (Synthetic Aperture Radar) instruments. It discusses the challenges in discriminating the returns from different surfaces, the retracking approaches and the corrections required. The review finishes with a look ahead to how new technologies, analyses and understanding may be expected to improve the monitoring in this critical environment.

Graham D. Quartly et al.
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Short summary
Radar altimetry is a high-precision technique for measuring sea level and sea ice thickness from space, which are important for monitoring ocean circulation, sea level rise and changes in the Arctic ice cover. This paper reviews the processing techniques needed to best extract the information from complicated radar echoes, and considers the likely developments in the coming decade.
Radar altimetry is a high-precision technique for measuring sea level and sea ice thickness from...
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