Sea ice thickness derived from radar altimetry: achievements and future plans


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Robert.Ricker [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The retrieval of Arctic sea ice thickness is one of the major objectives of the European CryoSat-2 radar altimeter mission and the 7-year long period of operation has produced an unprecedented record of monthly sea ice thickness information. We present CryoSat-2 results that show changes and variability of Arctic sea ice from the winter season 2010/2011 until fall 2017. CryoSat-2, however, was designed to observe thick perennial sea ice, while an accurate retrieval of thin seasonal sea ice is more challenging. We have therefore developed a method of completing and improving Arctic sea ice thickness information within the ESA SMOS+ Sea Ice project by merging CryoSat-2 and SMOS sea ice thickness retrievals. Using these satellite missions together overcomes several issues of single-mission retrievals and provides a more accurate and comprehensive view on the state of Arctic sea-ice thickness at higher temporal resolution. However, stand-alone CryoSat-2 observations can be used as reference data for the exploitation of older pulse-limited radar altimetry data sets over sea ice. In order to observe trends in sea ice thickness, it is required to minimize inter-mission biases between subsequent satellite missions. Within the ESA Climate Change Initiative (CCI) on Sea Ice, a climate data record of sea ice thickness derived from satellite radar altimetry has been developed for both hemispheres, based on the 15-year (2002-2017) monthly retrievals from Envisat and CryoSat-2 and calibrated in the 2010-2012 overlap period. The next step in promoting the utilization of sea ice thickness information from radar altimetry is to provide products by a service that meets the requirements for climate applications and operational systems. This task will be pursued within a Copernicus Climate Change Service project (C3S). This framework also aims to include additional sensors such as onboard Sentinel-3 and we will show first results of Sentinel-3 Arctic sea-ice thickness. These developments are the base for preserving the continuity of the sea ice thickness data record and the transformation from research oriented products into an operational service.



Item Type
Conference (Invited talk)
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Primary Division
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Peer revision
Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Event Details
AGU Fall Meeting, 01 Dec 2017 - 01 Dec 2017, New Orleans.
Eprint ID
48623
Cite as
Ricker, R. , Hendricks, S. , Paul, S. , Kaleschke, L. and Tian-Kunze, X. (2017): Sea ice thickness derived from radar altimetry: achievements and future plans , AGU Fall Meeting, New Orleans, December 2017 - December 2017 .


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