Remote Sensing (Dec 2017)

MODIS Sea Ice Thickness and Open Water–Sea Ice Charts over the Barents and Kara Seas for Development and Validation of Sea Ice Products from Microwave Sensor Data

  • Marko Mäkynen,
  • Juha Karvonen

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 12
p. 1324


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We have developed algorithms and procedures for calculating daily sea ice thickness (SIT) and open water–sea ice (OWSI) charts, based on the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), ice surface temperature (IST) (night-time only), and reflectance ( R ) swath data, respectively. The resolution of the SIT chart is 1 km and that of the OWSI chart is 250 m. The charts are targeted to be used in development and validation of sea ice products from microwave sensor data. We improve the original MODIS cloud masks for the IST and R data, with a focus on identifying larger cloud-free areas in the data. The SIT estimation from the MODIS IST swath data follows previous studies. The daily SIT chart is composed from available swath charts by assigning daily median SIT to a pixel. The OWSI classification is simply conducted by a fixed threshold for the MODIS band 1 R . This was based on manually selected R data for various ice types in late winter, early melt, and advanced melt conditions. The composition procedures for the daily SIT and OWSI charts somewhat compensates for errors due to the undetected clouds. The SIT and OWSI charts were compared against manual ice charts by Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in Russia and by Norwegian Meteorological Institute, respectively, and on average, a good relationship between the charts was found. Pixel-wise comparison of the SIT and OWSI charts showed very good agreement in open water vs. sea ice classification, which gives further confidence on the reliability of our algorithms. We also demonstrate usage of the MODIS OWSI and SIT charts for validation of sea ice concentration charts based on the SENTINEL-1 SAR and AMSR2 radiometer data and two different algorithms.