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Sea-ice thickness distribution of the Bellingshausen Sea from surface measurements and ICESat altimetry

Sea-ice thickness distribution of the Bellingshausen Sea from surface measurements and ICESat altimetry,10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.10.038,Deep-sea Research P

Sea-ice thickness distribution of the Bellingshausen Sea from surface measurements and ICESat altimetry   (Citations: 5)
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Although sea-ice extent in the Bellingshausen-Amundsen (BA) seas sector of the Antarctic has shown significant decline over several decades, there is not enough data to draw any conclusion on sea-ice thickness and its change for the BA sector, or for the entire Southern Ocean. This paper presents our results of snow and ice thickness distributions from the SIMBA 2007 experiment in the Bellingshausen Sea, using four different methods (ASPeCt ship observations, downward-looking camera imaging, ship-based electromagnetic induction (EM) sounding, and in situ measurements using ice drills). A snow freeboard and ice thickness model generated from in situ measurements was then applied to contemporaneous ICESat (satellite laser altimetry) measured freeboard to derive ice thickness at the ICESat footprint scale. Errors from in situ measurements and from ICESat freeboard estimations were incorporated into the model, so a thorough evaluation of the model and uncertainty of the ice thickness estimation from ICESat are possible. Our results indicate that ICESat derived snow freeboard and ice thickness distributions (asymmetrical unimodal tailing to right) for first-year ice (0.29±0.14m for mean snow freeboard and 1.06±0.40m for mean ice thickness), multi-year ice (0.48±0.26 and 1.59±0.75m, respectively), and all ice together (0.42±0.24 and 1.38±0.70m, respectively) for the study area seem reasonable compared with those values from the in situ measurements, ASPeCt observations, and EM measurements. The EM measurements can act as an appropriate supplement for ASPeCt observations taken hourly from the ship’s bridge and provide reasonable ice and snow distributions under homogeneous ice conditions. Our proposed approaches: (1) of using empirical equations relating snow freeboard to ice thickness based on in situ measurements and (2) of using isostatic equations that replace snow depth with snow freeboard (or empirical equations that convert freeboard to snow depth), are efficient and important ways to derive ice thickness from ICESat altimetry at the footprint scale for Antarctic sea ice. Spatial and temporal snow and ice thickness from satellite altimetry for the BA sector and for the entire Southern Ocean is therefore possible.
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