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Comparison of sea-ice extent and ice-edge location estimates from passive microwave and enhanced-resolution scatterometer data

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Passive microwave sea-ice concentration fields provide some of the longest-running and most consistent records of changes in sea ice. Scatterometry-based sea-ice fields are more recently developed data products, but now they provide a record of ice conditions spanning several years. Resolution enhancement techniques applied to scatterometer fields provide much higher effective resolutions (∼10 km) than are available from standard scatterometer and passive microwave fields (25–50 km). Here we examine ice-extent fields from both sources and find that there is general agreement between scatterometer data and passive microwave fields, though scatterometer estimates yield substantially lower ice extents during winter. Comparisons with ice-edge locations estimated from AVHRR imagery indicate that enhanced scatterometer data can sometimes provide an improved edge location, but there is substantial variation in the results, depending on the local conditions. A blended product, using both scatterometer and passive microwave data, could yield improved results.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008

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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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