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Using remote sensing to estimate sea ice thickness in the Bohai Sea, China based on ice type

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Abstract:

It is challenging to use traditional remote sensing techniques to accurately determine the extent and thickness of ice in the Bohai Sea, on account of the presence of sea impurities (i.e. mud, salt bubbles and sand) and shape irregularities. Accordingly, we performed a series of reflectance spectra experiments to empirically link remote measurements of surface reflectance with in situ sea ice thickness measurements in the Bohai Sea. Two years of Thematic Mapper (TM) band 2 and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) band 4 data were used to distinguish between the following sea ice types, using spectral reflectance thresholds of 6.4, 9.6, 10.3 and 12.1%: (a) clean nilas ice (a thin elastic crust of ice up to 10 cm thick that, under pressure, may deform by finger rafting; (b) nilas ice and pancake ice (roughly circular accumulations of frazil ice, usually less than about 3 m in diameter, with raised rims caused by collisions); (c) grey and grey-white ice; and (d) cumulative ice (<30 cm). By establishing a relationship between sea ice type and ice thickness, a novel, practical and low-cost remote sensing technique is introduced to estimate the extent and distribution of sea ice thickness over a large spatial scale. The results obtained by remote sensing are validated with in situ ice shape measurements. The MODIS and TM data are used to distinguish between three ice thickness grades (6-9, 10-20 and 20-30 cm).

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01431160802592542

Affiliations: 1: College of Resources Sciences and Technology, Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Education, China Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disasters, Ministry of Education of China, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China 2: College of Resources Sciences and Technology, Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Education, China Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disasters, Ministry of Education of China, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China 3: Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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