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Satellite observations of Arctic sea-ice thickness and kinematics: Observations and trends

  • 112 O&M Building, Texas A&M University (map)


Observations of sea-ice thickness and kinematics are essential for understanding changes in sea-ice mass balance, interactions between the ice cover and the ocean and atmosphere, and for improving projections of sea-ice response in a warming climate. These time-variable parameters are not directly observable with current sensor technology, but are derived from satellite altimetry and imagery. Our community has made great strides in understanding the retrieval sea-ice thickness from satellite altimetry during the last decade although approaches to address Southern Ocean ice thickness require additional attention. On the other hand, procedures to derive sea-ice motion from satellite imagery are more mature and better understood and have been employed to produce useful results for more than two decades. Generally, satellite instruments provide large-scale coverage but the frequency of temporal sampling is limited by orbit characteristics. In this talk, I will blend descriptions of the scientific interests in thickness and motion parameters, approaches associated with the retrieval of these parameters, their observed decadal trends, and provide a summary of current and anticipated capabilities for monitoring sea-ice thickness and kinematics from space.