Potential of RADARSAT-2 data for operational sea ice monitoring

TitlePotential of RADARSAT-2 data for operational sea ice monitoring
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsScheuchl, B., D. Flett, R. Caves, and I. Cumming
JournalCanadian Journal of Remote Sensing

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from RADARSAT-1 are an important operational data source for several ice centres around the world. Whereas RADARSAT-1 is only capable of acquiring data at a single polarization, RADARSAT-2 will be capable of acquiring dual-polarization data in many wide-swath modes (most importantly ScanSAR) and fully polarimetric SAR data in a narrow 25-km swath mode. In this paper, we consider the ice information requirements for operational sea ice monitoring at the Canadian Ice Service and the potential for RADARSAT-2 to meet those requirements. Primary parameters are ice-edge location, ice concentration, and stage of development; secondary parameters include leads, ice thickness, ice topography and roughness, ice decay, and snow properties. Iceberg detection is included as an additional ice information requirement. The dual and fully polarimetric modes of RADARSAT-2 are expected to enhance our ability to measure these parameters. For ice operations, the dual-polarization data are expected to be most useful, as they will provide the required wide coverage in a number of modes. Although ScanSAR is the recommended mode of operation, the properties of other modes are also discussed. To illustrate the expected improvements from polarimetry, we review the conclusions of past work and add some new results using ENVISAT ASAR and simulated RADARSAT-2 data.

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