Estimation of degree of sea ice ridging in the Bay of Bothnia based on geolocated photon heights from ICESat-2

Fredensborg Hansen, Renée Mie; Rinne, Eero; Farrell, Sinéad Louise; Skourup, Henriette

We present a comparison of Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) geolocated photon heights and operational ice charts from the Finnish Ice Service in the Bay of Bothnia in spring 2019. We show that ICESat-2 (IS2) retrievals from ice areas with different ridging characteristics, more precisely the degree of ice ridging (DIR), differ significantly. DIR is a particularly useful parameter for ice navigators, as it provides information on how difficult it is to navigate through an area based on e.g. sail heights and distribution of sea ice ridges. DIR estimates are included in ice charts of the Baltic Sea and are based primarily on in situ observations from an active icebreaker fleet. We show that DIR may potentially be estimated from IS2. We also present a comparison of IS2 measurements and Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar frames, discussing several individual cases of IS2 photon elevation behaviour over Baltic sea ice. We suggest that IS2 data can be of benefit to international ice services, especially if a time-critical photon height product were to be made available. Furthermore, we show that the difference between highest and mean photon elevations (elevation anomalies) of IS2 correspond to expected ridge sail heights in our study area. Our study is one of the first steps in creating sea ice applications beyond the traditional goal of freeboard and thickness retrieval for IS2.

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Fredensborg Hansen, Renée Mie / Rinne, Eero / Farrell, Sinéad Louise / et al: Estimation of degree of sea ice ridging in the Bay of Bothnia based on geolocated photon heights from ICESat-2. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Renée Mie Fredensborg Hansen et al.

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