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Deriving sea-ice thickness and ice types in the Sea of Okhotsk using dual-frequency airborne SAR (Pi-SAR) data

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Dual-frequency, multi-polarization airborne synthetic aperture radar (Pi-SAR; developed by the Communications Research Laboratory and National Space Development Agency of Japan) observations of the seasonal sea-ice region off the Okhotsk coast of Hokkaido, Japan, were carried out in February 1999 using X- and L-band radar frequencies with a resolution of 1.5 and 3.0 m. In conjunction with the SAR observations, the sea-ice thickness (draft) and velocity were measured by a moored Ice Profiling Sonar (IPS) and an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP). Tracks of the sea ice passing over the IPS were estimated from the time series of the ADCP ice-velocity and-direction data. Along these tracks, the SAR backscattering coefficient profiles were compared with the IPS ice-draft profiles. The results showed that the L-band SAR backscattering profiles correlated well with the IPS ice-draft data, particularly in the thicker part (a few meters thick) of the rim of first-year ice, which had a large backscattering coefficient. Although the X-band SAR backscattering profiles did not correlate well with the IPS data, thin ice (<10 cm thick) showed a large backscattering coefficient. The L-band SAR and IPS data did not distinguish thin ice from open water.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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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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