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A 10-year record of Arctic summer sea ice freeboard from CryoSat-2

Dawson, G; Landy, J; Tsamados, M; Komarov, AS; Howell, S; Heorton, H; Krumpen, T; (2022) A 10-year record of Arctic summer sea ice freeboard from CryoSat-2. Remote Sensing of Environment , 268 , Article 112744. 10.1016/j.rse.2021.112744. Green open access

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Abstract

Satellite observations of pan-Arctic sea ice thickness have so far been constrained to winter months. For radar altimeters, conventional methods cannot differentiate leads from meltwater ponds that accumulate at the ice surface in summer months, which is a critical step in the ice thickness calculation. Here, we use over 350 optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images from the summer months to train a 1D convolution neural network for separating CryoSat-2 radar altimeter returns from sea ice floes and leads with an accuracy >80%. This enables us to generate the first pan-Arctic measurements of sea ice radar freeboard for May–September between 2011 and 2020. Results indicate that the freeboard distributions in May and September compare closely to those from a conventional ‘winter’ processor in April and October, respectively. The freeboards capture expected patterns of sea ice melt over the Arctic summer, matching well to ice draft observations from the Beaufort Gyre Exploration Program (BGEP) moorings. However, compared to airborne laser scanner freeboards from Operation IceBridge and airborne EM ice thickness surveys from the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) IceBird program, CryoSat-2 freeboards are underestimated by 0.02–0.2 m, and ice thickness is underestimated by 0.28–1.0 m, with the largest differences being over thicker multi-year sea ice. To create the first pan-Arctic summer sea ice thickness dataset we must address primary sources of uncertainty in the conversion from radar freeboard to ice thickness.

Type: Article
Title: A 10-year record of Arctic summer sea ice freeboard from CryoSat-2
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2021.112744
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2021.112744
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Sea ice; CryoSat-2; Radar altimetry; Radar freeboard
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Earth Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10138023
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