Davos Atmosphere and Cryosphere Assembly 2013
Air, Ice & Process Interactions
July 8-12, 2013

Accurately quantifying changes in sea ice using satellite remote sensing

Forty years ago in 1972, the nimbus-5 satellite was launched. One of its payload instruments was the 19 ghz electrically scanning microwave radiometer (esmr). This prototype passive microwave instrument provided the first public-domain satellite views of sea ice. However, if we ask today: "what sea ice parameters are observed within a specific accuracy at a specific spatialtemporal scale?" there would be no consensus. Additionally, how much can be said about sea ice processes from polar-orbiting satellites, which have significant temporal sampling issues? The major sea ice dynamic and thermodynamic processes are rather simple at first glance, namely, horizontal (area) and vertical (thickness) growth and decay. In other words, processes that result in changes of the sea ice cover. To understand these changes, it is essential to know how accurately the true quantities can be estimated. Which changes in sea ice processes and properties most impact the accurate retrieval of area and thickness? Especially for the antarctic, sea ice thickness retrieval remains a real challenge. Also, regardless of the hemisphere, melting conditions often substantially deteriorate the retrieval quality if not inhibiting sea ice parameter retrieval completely. This session invites contributions which advance the above-mentioned theme questions and further related questions such as: how important is snow depth on sea ice for sea ice thickness retrieval in the antarctic compared to the arctic? How accurately can snow depth on sea ice be retrieved? How accurately can processes of sea ice melt, growth, and ridging, snow ice formation and snow metamorphism, and sea ice freeboard flooding be observed from space-borne platforms? Can current knowledge gaps be closed by synergistic combination of multiple satellite sensors such as amsr-e and quikscat or smos and cryosat-2?

Session conveners

Lead-Convener: Stefan Kern (stefan.kern@zmaw.de)

Co-convener: Cathleen Geiger