Polynya evolution at the Terra Nova Bay Antarctica – Analysis of a multi sensor time series

Thomas.Hollands [ at ] awi.de


Coastal polynyas are open water areas in the sea ice cover. They are highly dynamical regions in the sea ice covered oceans of the Polar Regions. Their occurrence is mainly triggered by strong katabatic winds that push the ice offshore. Due to the lack of the insulating sea ice cover, polynyas have a strong impact on the local heat and energy exchange as well as on the ice production. Since the evolution of coastal polynyas is a dynamic event generating visible changes within a few hours, it is a demanding task for satellite remote sensing. The synchronised acquisition with the different sensors is of great importance for any multi sensor analysis over these dynamic regions. On the other hand it offers the chance to study various aspects of ocean - sea ice - atmosphere interactions in a relatively small area. During a recent project, funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, we studied the potential of the Sentinel Constellation missions for Polynya research based on satellite data from present and past missions. In the period from September to November 2014, we acquired an extensive time series of TerraSAR-X ScanSAR wide images for the Terra Nova Bay and MacKenzie Bay Polynya, Antarctica. Both polynyas are known for their regular formation, and both are small enough to fit into a ScanSAR Wide Scene of TerraSAR-X. The TerraSAR-X time series is supplemented by acquisitions from other sensors like Sentinel-1, ALOS-2, RapidEye and Landsat. The combination of these different sensors at the same day is a great opportunity to study dynamic regions such as the polynyas at hand in more detail. We will present first results on the dynamical sea ice regime around the Terra Nova Bay Polynya based on high resolution drift estimation from the acquired TerraSAR-X data and combine it with datasets from different sensors for an improved analysis of the sea ice conditions around the polynya. The results emphasises the potential of multi-sensor approaches for sea ice research.

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TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting, 17 Oct 2016 - 20 Oct 2016, Weßling, Germany.
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Hollands, T. , Linow, S. and Dierking, W. (2016): Polynya evolution at the Terra Nova Bay Antarctica – Analysis of a multi sensor time series , TerraSAR-X/TanDEM-X Science Team Meeting, Weßling, Germany, 17 October 2016 - 20 October 2016 .

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