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Observation of pressure ridges in SAR images of sea ice: Scattering theory and comparison with observationsRidges and keels (hummocks and bummocks) in sea ice flows are important in sea ice research for both scientific and practical reasons. Sea ice movement and deformation is driven by internal and external stresses on the ice. Ridges and keels play important roles in both cases because they determine the external wind and current stresses via drag coefficients. For example, the drag coefficient over sea ice can vary by a factor of several depending on the fluid mechanical roughness length of the surface. This roughness length is thought to be strongly dependent on the ridge structures present. Thus, variations in ridge and keel structure can cause gradients in external stresses which must be balanced by internal stresses and possibly fracture of the ice. Ridging in sea ice is also a sign of fracture. In a practical sense, large ridges form the biggest impediment to surface travel over the ice or penetration through sea ice by ice-strengthened ships. Ridges also play an important role in the damage caused by sea ice to off-shore structures. Hence, observation and measurement of sea ice ridges is an important component of sea ice remote sensing. The research reported here builds on previous work, estimating the characteristics of ridges and leads in sea ice from SAR images. Our objective is to develop methods for quantitative measurement of sea ice ridges from SAR images. To make further progress, in particular, to estimate ridge height, a scattering model for ridges is needed. Our research approach for a ridge scattering model begins with a survey of the geometrical properties of ridges and a comparison with the characteristics of the surrounding ice. For this purpose we have used airborne optical laser (AOL) data collected during the 1987 Greenland Sea Experiment. These data were used to generate a spatial wavenumber spectrum for height variance for a typical ridge - the typical ridge is the average over 10 large ridges. Our first-order model radar scattering includes both the quasi-specular and Bragg resonant scatter mechanisms. This model is extended to include contributions from volume scatter and scatter from discrete objects. Geometrical characteristics from the AOL survey and model calculations imply that for radar wavelengths and observation geometries that are dominated by the quasi-specular scattering mechanism radar backscatter from a ridge is a measure of peak ridge height. We present scattering model results and compare them with ridges observed during the LEADEX experiment of March-April 1992 when both X, C, and L-band aircraft SAR and the ERS-1 satellite SAR observed a region in the Beaufort Sea near 86 deg N, 10 deg W. Data were also collected documenting ridge characteristics on the surface. The surface data are used to generate a SAR signature via the scattering model described above. The predicted SAR signatures compare well with the SAR observations.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Vesecky, J. F. (Michigan Univ. Ann Arbor., United States)
Daida, J. M. (Michigan Univ. Ann Arbor., United States)
Shuchman, R. A. (Environmental Research Inst. of Michigan Ann Arbor., United States)
Onstott, R. H. (Environmental Research Inst. of Michigan Ann Arbor., United States)
Camiso, J. C. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: JPL, Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium (PIERS)
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19940015930Analytic PrimaryProgress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium (PIERS)