Characteristics of sea ice in the Okhotsk coastal polynyas revealed by satellites, ice-profiling sonar and digital camera observations
Abstract:The characteristics of ice in the Okhotsk coastal polynyas are examined. A map of AMSR-E thin-ice thickness in the northwest shelf region shows that most of the coastal polynya area is covered by thin ice with a thickness of 0.1 m. The thickness increases sharply at the edge of the polynya. From comparisons with QuikSCAT backscatter, the thin-ice area corresponds well with the low-backscatter area during almost all the coastal polynya period. A comparison with ice thickness measured by an ice-profiling sonar in the coastal polynya region of northeastern Sakhalin shows a similar relationship, with the backscatter tending to be low when the ice is thin. The averaged backscatter of thin (≤0.1 m) ice is –19.6 ± 2.8 dB (horizontal polarization). The backscatter of thin ice is considered to be mainly determined by the surface roughness because volume scattering of thin ice is low due to the dielectric properties associated with the high salinity. The results of this study suggest that the coastal polynya is covered with grease ice/nilas whose surface is almost mirror smooth. This is confirmed by a comparison with photographs taken at the coastal polynya region near Magadan, Russia. At the outer edge of the coastal polynya, a region of relatively high backscatter (>–16 dB) exists, probably because it has a rougher ice surface than the polynya area. This suggests that ice motion in this area may be convergent.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 2011
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