Mapping pan-Arctic landfast sea ice stability using Sentinel-1 interferometry
Arctic landfast sea ice has undergone substantial changes in recent decades, affecting ice stability and including potential impacts on ice travel by coastal populations and on industry ice roads. We present a novel approach for evaluating landfast sea ice stability on a pan-Arctic scale using Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR). Using Sentinel-1 images from spring 2017, we discriminate between bottomfast, stabilized, and nonstabilized landfast ice over the main marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean (Beaufort, Chukchi, East Siberian, Laptev, and Kara seas). This approach draws on the evaluation of relative changes in interferometric fringe patterns. This first comprehensive assessment of Arctic bottomfast sea ice extent has revealed that most of the bottomfast sea ice is situated around river mouths and coastal shallows. The Laptev and East Siberian seas dominate the aerial extent, covering roughly 4100 and 5100 km2, respectively. These seas also contain the largest extent of stabilized and nonstabilized landfast ice, but are subject to the largest uncertainties surrounding the mapping scheme. Even so, we demonstrate the potential for using InSAR for assessing the stability of landfast ice in several key regions around the Arctic, providing a new understanding of how stability may vary between regions. InSAR-derived stability may serve for strategic planning and tactical decision support for different uses of coastal ice. In a case study of the Nares Strait, we demonstrate that interferograms may reveal early-warning signals for the breakup of stationary sea ice.