A Decade of QuikSCAT Scatterometer Sea Ice Extent Data

Quinn P. Remund, David G. Long
2014 IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing  
Polar sea ice is an important input to global climate models and is considered to be a sensitive indicator of climate change. While originally designed only for wind estimation, radar backscatter measurements collected by wind scatterometers have proven useful for estimating the extent of sea ice. During the Quick Scatterometer (QuikSCAT) mission, SeaWinds data were used to operationally map the sea ice extent. The resulting sea ice maps were used to mask near-surface winds to support SeaWinds'
more » ... o support SeaWinds' primary mission of measuring near-surface winds over the ocean. This paper describes the operational SeaWinds sea ice extent mapping algorithm, provides validation comparisons, and presents results from the ten-year data product. Starting with enhanced resolution horizontal polarization and vertical polarization backscatter images, the algorithm employs an iterative maximum-likelihood classifier with fixed thresholds to segment sea ice and open ocean pixels. Residual classification errors are reduced through binary image processing techniques and sea ice growth/retreat constraint methods. The algorithm results are compared with sea ice concentrations derived from Special Sensor Microwave/Imager data and with RADARSAT synthetic aperture radar imagery. The results suggest differences in the sensitivities of active and passive products given their channel sets and specific algorithms. Derived sea ice extents over the full decade-long QuikSCAT mission data set are analyzed to show important trends in sea ice extent for the Antarctic and Arctic regions.
doi:10.1109/tgrs.2013.2281056 fatcat:bxfxikk7zndztej6r4zxdd3oou