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Summer Antarctic sea ice as seen by ASAR and AMSR-E and observed during two IPY field cruises: a case study

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Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) Wide Swath Mode (WSM) images are used to derive C-band HH-polarization normalized radar cross sections (NRCS). These are compared with ice-core analysis and visual ship-based observations of snow and ice properties observed according to the Antarctic Sea Ice Processes and Climate (ASPeCt) protocol during two International Polar Year summer cruises (Oden 2008 and Palmer 2009) in West Antarctica. Thick first-year (TFY) and multi-year (MY) ice were the dominant ice types. The NRCS value ranges between –16.3 ± 1.1 and –7.6 ± 1.0 dB for TFY ice, and is –12.6 ± 1.3 dB for MY ice; for TFY ice, NRCS values increase from ∼–15 dB to –9 dB from December/January to mid-February. In situ and ASPeCt observations are not, however, detailed enough to interpret the observed NRCS change over time. Co-located Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer–Earth Observing System (AMSR-E) vertically polarized 37 GHz brightness temperatures (TB37V), 7 day and 1 day averages as well as the TB37V difference between ascending and descending AMSR-E overpasses suggest the low NRCS values (–15 dB) are associated with snowmelt being still in progress, while the change towards higher NRCS values (–9 dB) is caused by commencement of melt–refreeze cycles after about mid-January.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2011

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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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