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Summary of Proposal OCE2306

TitleMonitoring sea ice floe breakup in the marginal ice zone
Investigator Hwang, Byongjun - The Scottish Association for Marine Science, Sea ice
Team Member
Dr. Ren, Jinchang - Centre for excellence in Signal and Image Processing, Dept of Electronic and Electric Engineering
Dr. Wilkinson, Jeremy - British Antarctic Survey, British Antarctic Survey
Dr Schweiger, Axel - University of Washington, Polar Science Center
Dr Polashenski, Chris - Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory , Alaska Projects Office
SummaryThe overall goal of this project is to continue and enhance monitoring of spring/summer sea ice breakup processes (floe size/shape and open water fraction) in the Arctic. The two key objectives of this project are a) the detailed investigation of the effects of wave actions (propagating through ice) on floe breakup in relation to the effects of wind stress directly on sea ice floes, b) and further investigation of inter-annual variability of floe breakup processes at selected buoy locations. In the previous DLR TerraSAR-X project (OCE1107), we found that TerraSAR-X data are important to understand inter-annual variability of how sea ice floe size distribution (FSD) seasonally evolves and how its seasonal evolution interacts with large-scale environmental conditions. Despite the success, the previous project was lacking of in-situ measurements of wave properties over the area where TerraSAR-X images were taking. This lack of wave data made it difficult to precisely evaluate how much floe breakup was affected by wave actions versus direct wind stress. In addition current TerraSAR-X data set spans only two years at three buoy clusters between 2012 and 2013, which is not enough to address inter-annual variability of floe breakup processes. There is also a need to expanding monitoring area into Fram Strait or Barents Sea where more frequent storms occur and wave actions are more evident. In this DLR TerraSAR-X proposal we propose to address those limitations from previous studies. A) The target buoy clusters in 2014 summer contain wave buoys that provide continuous stream of in-situ wave properties. This will allows us to evaluate the effects of waves (in-ice swells) and winds more efficiently. B) TSX acquisition will be further continued at the two target buoy clusters in 2015 summer in addition to five buoy clusters in 2014 summer. This will allow us to capture at least four years of data which help us to analyse inter-annual variability. C) We will set up a test area in Fram Strait or Barents Sea to evaluate short-term effects of floe breakup in the event of storms. This is particularly important as these areas are more prone to wave action than Beaufort/Chukchi Seas. To accomplish these objectives we estimated about 160 TSX images required in this project (25,600 euros in total). Such funding have been secured toward satellite image cost from the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) DRI-MIZ project and the UK NERC TPoC project (FSD).

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