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A new technique has been developed to estimate digitally the concentration and structure of open-water leads (polynyas) in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sea-ice data. This procedure consists of smoothing the original SAR sea-ice data to reduce speckle effects, level slicing this smoothed image to produce a binary image consisting of ice and open water, generating the autocorrelation function of this image, and interpreting the autocorrelation function for lead information. Preliminary resultsdoi:10.3189/s0022143000008765 fatcat:dag5jglk3navhgz66ytvqcdvdm