IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing (Jan 2022)

Sea Ice Detection and Measurement Using Coastal GNSS Reflectometry: Analysis and Demonstration

  • Feng Wang,
  • Dongkai Yang,
  • Mingjie Niu,
  • Lei Yang,
  • Bo Zhang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 15
pp. 136 – 149


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Based on a developed three-layerair–ice–water reflection model, this article simulates the evolution of reflection coefficient versus elevation angle. Due to the interference between the signal components from the air–ice and ice–water interfaces, the reflection coefficient experiences an oscillating pattern versus elevation angle so that detecting sea ice using the power or amplitude of the reflected global navigation satellite system (GNSS) signal has to choose a suitable satellite to reduce the influence of the oscillating pattern. A sea ice surface is more stable and presents higher correlation than a dynamic ocean surface, this article explores the potential of detecting and measuring sea ice using the coherency of reflected GNSS signal for coastal scenario. Experimental results show that phase coherency can significantly detect sea ice without strictly limiting elevation and azimuth angle. This article also is to is to explore the potential of retrieving sea ice thickness using the oscillating phase pattern versus elevation angle. The phase compensation and the dual-polarization observation are proposed to remove the delay phase between the direct and reflected signal from the estimated phase of the reflected GNSS signal. The results show that the amplitude and frequency of the oscillating phase pattern, respectively, have an inversely proportional and positively linear relationship with sea ice thickness. Simulation shows that, compared to the oscillating amplitude, the oscillating frequency is a better choice to measure sea ice thickness. The frequency of the dual-polarization oscillating pattern could provide the measurement performance with a root-mean-square error of 0.05 m.