SMOS Sea Ice Concentration maps

Since more than a year ago, the Barcelona Expert Center (BEC) team researches on the capabilities of SMOS for the characterizations of the Cryosphere. 

First maps of the Arctic Sea Ice concentration from SMOS data have been produced for the year 2014, with the algorithm explained bellow.

SMOS_Mar_2014

 

Two indices have been chosen to compute ice concentration: Angular Difference (AD=TBV(θ_2)-TBV(θ_1)) and Polarization Difference (PD=TBV-TBH). The sensitivity of those indices to ice salinity and temperature is much less (about 60%) than that of raw TB’s, but they are still quite sensitive to the physical state (sea or ice). This property is very convenient for the empirical characterization of the physical state, because the distribution of the geophysical parameters is not very well known (specially for the ice salinity).

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What can SMOS tell us about the Arctic oceans?

The Barcelona Expert Center (BEC) produces daily maps of SMOS First Stokes (average between X and Y- pol brightness temperature) measurements at incidence angles lower than 20 degrees in the Arctic region. The brightness temperature over sea water (about 90K at nadir) is substantially lower than that over ice (around 220K at nadir for a pixel fully covered by sea ice), thus enabling differentiation.

The study focuses on the feasibility of SMOS to observe specific features and physical phenomena in the Arctic Ocean such as sea ice melt, lead opening and closing, and ice cover breakup and deformation. Two specific examples are presented.

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