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Thickness of sea ice measured by satellites varies regionally depending on the method used

Thickness of sea ice measured by satellites varies regionally depending on the method used

The thickness of sea ice is an important indicator of changes in the Arctic region, but calculating the thickness by using measurements taken from satellites is not unambiguous.

For the first time the researchers compiled details of sea ice products into a form that enabled comparisons, while systematically examining their strengths and weaknesses.  A study showed that data from different sources indicated significant local differences in the thickness of sea ice.

Data produced by the CryoSat-2 satellite appeared to work best with ice that was 0.5 to 4 metres thick, while a combination of information from the CryoSat-2 and SMOS satellites also works for thinner ice. The same applies to data produced by the AVHRR satellite. Of these the latter does not seem to be as accurate for thick ice.

Further information:

researcher Heidi Sallila, Finnish Meteorological Institute, tel. +358 50 45 25541, heidi.sallila@fmi.fi

Sallila, H., Farrell, S. L., McCurry, J., and Rinne, E.: Assessment of contemporary satellite sea ice thickness products for Arctic sea ice, The Cryosphere, 13, 1187-1213, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-13-1187-2019, 2019.

https://www.the-cryosphere.net/13/1187/2019/

 


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