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Arctic sea-ice albedo derived from RGPS-based ice-thickness estimates

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The RADARSAT geophysical processor system (RGPS) uses sequential synthetic aperture radar images of Arctic sea ice taken every 3 days to track a large set of Lagrangian points over the winter and spring seasons. The points are the vertices of cells, which are initially square and 10 km on a side, and the changes in the area of these cells due to opening and closing of the ice are used to estimate the fractional area of a set of first-year ice categories. The thickness of each category is estimated by the RGPS from an empirical relationship between ice thickness and the freezing degree-days since the formation of the ice. With a parameterization of the albedo based on the ice thickness, the albedo may be estimated from the first-year ice distribution. We compute the albedo for the first spring processed by the RGPS, the early spring of 1997. The data include most of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. We find that the mean albedo is 0.79 with a standard deviation of 0.04, with lower albedo values near the edge of the perennial ice zone. The biggest source of error is likely the assumed rate of snow accumulation on new ice.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756401781818103

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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