Science Service System

Summary of Proposal OCE1751

TitleAnalysis of Sea Ice and Ocean Swell in the Marginal Ice Zone
Investigator Hargrove, John - University of Miami, CSTARS
Team Member
Senior Software Engi Hargrove, John - University of Miami, CSTARS
Associate Graber, Hans - University of Miami, CSTARS and Department of Applied Marine Physics
Senior Caruso, Mike - University of Miami, CSTARS
Professor and Chairm Minnett, Peter - University of Miami, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography
Associate Professor Romeiser, Roland - University of Miami, Applied Marine Physics

Almost certainly as a result of global warming, the extent and thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined in recent years, resulting in a significant reduction in volume. The greatest loss of arctic summer ice has occurred in the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas, and in the Beaufort Sea and Canada Basin north of Yukon and Alaska (2), where the process has resulted in the formation of a marginal ice zone (MIZ). The MIZ is the zone at the edge of the ice pack where the morphology of ice floes is impacted by its contact with ocean swell. With some models predicting an ice-free summer within 30 years, increased access to the Arctic Basin is expected to expand maritime transportation and natural resource development in the region. Improvement in sea ice prediction capability. The U.S. Navy has a keen interest in developing predictive capability in the Arctic Sea on a variety of space and time scales. In response, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has established a multi-year dedicated research program focusing on the Arctic Sea, with particular emphasis on the Beaufort Sea.

The primary intent of the ONR program is to identify and understand the key processes, interactions, and feedbacks in the ice-ocean-atmosphere system that govern the evolution of arctic sea ice cover. The investigators of the current proposal are funded by ONR to participate in this program, focusing on the collection and utilization of satellite SAR data. In the current proposal, we are requesting access to theTerraSAR-X data archive in order to immediately begin the development of processing and analysis methods for Arctic Sea SAR imagery.

We will focus on two primary areas of application. The first is determination of wide-area sea ice coverage. We intend to estimate the size distribution and velocity of ice floes, the total area covered and the open water fraction, and the surface characteristics of the sea ice. A second less well-established application of SAR data in polar oceanography is the observation of wave characteristics in and around the MIZ. SAR has long been recognized as an important tool for the study of ocean surface and internal waves,so its application for wave observations in the presence of sea ice is a natural extension.

Thus we propose to advance the development of retrieval algorithms for parameters describing sea ice, and for parameters describing sea surface conditions near ice. We will experiment with normalization methods, speckle noise filters, and artifact removal techniques. We will utilize our experience in SAR algorithms for wave and wind retrieval and oil detection to develop new methods for ocean-ice mixtures. Results will be compared to field studies such as MELTEX and ArcticNet, as well as to other historical remote sensing data such as SEASAT SAR and MEDEA optical imagery.

We are requesting ~50 ScanSAR images and ~50 StripMap images from the Arctic Sea region to cover the full range of ice conditions, incidence angles, polarizations, and imaging modes. The deliverables include at least one paper in a peer-reviewed journal and presentations at scientific meetings.

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