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Summary of Proposal HYD3419

TitleSea Ice Monitoring and Thickness Estimation from TSX/RS2 Polarimetric Products
Investigator Bernier, Monique - INRS, Eau, Terre et Environnement
Team Member
Mrs. Gilbert, Véronique - Kativik Regional Government, Environmental Specialist
Mrs. Rouleau, Amélie - Raglan Mine, a Glencore company, Governance, Stakeholder and Community Engagement
Mr. Ross, Ed - ASL Environmental Sciences Inc., Project Manager
Mrs. Wendleder, Anna - DLR, German Remote Sensing Data Center
Mrs Dufour-Beauséjour, Sophie - INRS, Centre Eau Terre Environnement
SummaryThe variability of sea ice has a direct impact on Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic. It affects traditional activities, access to the territory and availability of resources (fishing, and hunting). The unpredictability of sea ice in the fjords of the Hudson Strait region is growing under the pressure of climate change. Mining activities and associated icebreaking maritime transport are also increasing in the region. Some communities are concerned about the combined impacts of these factors on sea ice dynamics in Deception Bay. With the objective of safer travels for both Inuit and the industry, as well as protection of the Bay’s ecosystem, a sea ice monitoring program located in Deception Bay was established. This program will increase our understanding of the specific ice formation and melting dynamics of this region, in the context of climate change and winter maritime transportation. Over three winter seasons (2015-2018), satellite images, on site cameras, ice profiling devices, ice thickness measurements and ground penetrating radar are jointly used to document the ice processes. Control sites are located in the neighboring communities of Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq in order to assess if observed changes are specific or global. Available archived imagery (optical and radar) is used to document ice freeze-up and breakup over the last 20 to 30 years. New high resolution RADARSAT-2 polarimetric images are also acquired specifically for the project, between December and April of each year (2015-2018), in order to better document the ice types and to study the link between ice thickness and polarimetric parameters. However, RADARSAT-2 is heavily solicited by shipping operators and acquisition conflicts are common in the Hudson Strait. TerraSAR-X acquisitions are much less susceptible to these issues, and offer the additional advantage of a repeat cycle half that of RADARSAT-2. Ice thickness is a major parameter in the characterization and monitoring of the sea ice cover. Field measurements can yield some point data, but additional estimations from SAR products could greatly improve the documentation. The shorter wavelength offered by TerraSAR-X should prove more sensitive to the first centimeters of ice which depend on the initial ice processes and affect the signal for the rest of the season. Furthermore, frequent TerraSAR-X acquisitions will be particularly relevant in conjunction with the data recorded by a Shallow-Water Ice-Profiler (SWIP) installed in Deception Bay. This instrument is anchored in the bay and records the ice thickness continuously throughout the season. With the high density of images from TerraSAR-X, the progression of the SAR signal in relation to the thickness should be adequately sampled. Therefore, this proposal wishes to investigate three aspects: - the capability of high resolution dual pol X-band data to map and distinguish between different sea ice classes in the studied fjords, - the correlation between SAR polarimetric content and ice thickness at X-band and C-band; - the synergistic use of TerraSAR-X and RADARSAT-2 imagery (e.g. improvement of classification, increase of observation frequency, backup in case of acquisition conflicts, etc.). The project is part of the Hudson Strait component of the Safe Passage project, funded by Polar Knowledge Canada, and with the support of the Canadian Ice Service. The work in Deception Bay is also conducted through a technical and financial agreement between Raglan Mine (A Glencore Company) and the Kativik Regional Government (KRG). INRS acts as a consultant to KRG and is a partner to the project.

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