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ARISE (Antarctic Remote Ice Sensing Experiment) in the East 2003: validation of satellite-derived sea-ice data products

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Preliminary results are presented from the first validation of geophysical data products (ice concentration, snow thickness on sea ice (hs) and ice temperature (TI) from the NASA EOS Aqua AMSRE sensor, in East Antarctica (in September–October 2003). The challenge of collecting sufficient measurements with which to validate the coarse-resolution AMSR-E data products adequately was addressed by means of a hierarchical approach, using detailed in situ measurements, digital aerial photography and other satellite data. Initial results from a circumnavigation of the experimental site indicate that, at least under cold conditions with a dry snow cover, there is a reasonably close agreement between satellite- and aerial-photo-derived ice concentrations, i.e. 97.2 ± 3.6% for NT2 and 96.5±2.5% for BBA algorithms vs 94.3% for the aerial photos. In general, the AMSR-E concentration represents a slight overestimate of the actual concentration, with the largest discrepancies occurring in regions containing a relatively high proportion of thin ice. The AMSR-E concentrations from the NT2 and BBA algorithms are similar on average, although differences of up to 5% occur in places, again related to thin-ice distribution. The AMSR-E ice temperature (TI) product agrees with coincident surface measurements to approximately 0.5°C in the limited dataset analyzed. Regarding snow thickness, the AMSR hs retrieval is a significant underestimate compared to in situ measurements weighted by the percentage of thin ice (and open water) present. For the case study analyzed, the underestimate was 46% for the overall average, but 23% compared to smooth-ice measurements. The spatial distribution of the AMSR-E hs product follows an expected and consistent spatial pattern, suggesting that the observed difference may be an offset (at least under freezing conditions). Areas of discrepancy are identified, and the need for future work using the more extensive dataset is highlighted.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-11-01

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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.

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