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Summary of Proposal COA0388

TitleInvestigating Dynamics, Evolution, and Polarimetric Properties of Arctic Coastal Polynyas and Sea Ice Using TerraSAR-X Data
Investigator Busche, Thomas - German Aerospace Center (DLR), Microwave and Radar Institute, Radar Concepts Department
Team Member
Dr. Hajnsek, Irena - German Aerospace Center (DLR) e.V., Microwaves & Radar Institute, Radar Concepts
Dr. Haas, Christian - University of Alberta, Center for Earth Observation Sciences, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
Dr. Willmes, Sascha - University of Trier, Dept. of Environmental Meteorology
M.A. Dipl.-Ing Krumpen, Thomas - Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Climate Sciences
Dipl.-Geophysicist Rabenstein, Lasse - Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Climate Sciences
SummaryThe coastal regions of the Arctic Ocean are of high interest for the investigation of sea ice formation. Two different regions have been chosen for a closer look using TerraSAR-X data. The one region, the Laptev Sea and the Siberian coast are important sources of new sea ice production. Here a significant amount of thermodynamic sea ice growth takes place within the coastal polynya areas, where off-shore winds are advecting the pack ice from the coast, forming areas of open water, within which new ice is formed. The Transpolar Drift carries the polar water masses and the sea ice from the Siberian shelves towards the coast of Northern Greenland and Canada, where the sea ice accumulates and dynamically grows. Heavy deformation and ridging occurs and the sea ice thickness measured here is the highest for the Artic Basin. The second test site in the Lincoln Sea is located in such an accumulation region.
The main objectives for the Laptev Sea test site is the monitoring of the Southern West New Siberian polynya and its dynamics and thin sea ice growth. The data analysis involves time series of ENVISAT ASAR in wide swath mode, from which important parameters i.e. open water and thin ice area fraction are extracted. The high resolution TerraSAR-X data in StripMap mode and dual polarisation are used to support this task. The aim is to balance sea ice and salt production, making use of a numerical polynya model. Intensive ground measurement campaigns will take place within in the test site core area, in early spring sea ice situations in 2008 and 2009. Coincident to the SAR data takes helicopterborne electromagnetic measuring techniques will be utilized to collect sea ice thickness profiles for comparison. Permanent ocean state records from sea-floor mounted moorings, as well as climate data from a weather station, and spaceborne optical imagery from MODIS are used for cross validation purposes. Field work in the Lincoln Sea will take place in the wet Arctic summer season, in 2008 and 2009. Main objective is to assess the benefits of TerraSAR-X StripMap mode data for sea ice melt pond detection and the mapping of deformation features. Sea ice thickness data is collected by the same helicopterborne electromagnetic sensor.
The proposed experiments are going to demonstrate the benfits of spaceborne SAR data for sea ice remote sensing in a multistage sampling approach. SAR imagery from two sensors with different resolution, frequency, and coverage could be compared. Sea ice thickness data and TerraSAR-X imagery in dual polarisation mode will build up unique dataset for algorithm development directed to thin sea ice thickness inversion.
Investigation and analysis of TerraSAR-X data will be done by DLR internal radar experts for parameter inversion. This work and the data costs are funded by internal research finances. Reference data will be provided by the external team members at no charge in exchange for SAR data.

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