Sea Ice Applications

Synthetic Aperture Radar imagery is well suited to Sea Ice mapping and monitoring applications. This was a significant driver for the development of RADARSAT-1. RADARSAT-1 is used operationally by Canada as well as several other countries for the mapping and monitoring of sea-ice.

However, data from single-channel SARs, such as the one on RADARSAT-1, are limited in their application to sea ice monitoring especially outside of cold winter conditions and in marginal ice zones. Interpretation and analysis difficulties include the ambiguity between water and ice at low incidence angles and/or in high wind conditions, confusion between water and thin ice, masking of ice signatures under wet (spring) conditions, and ice type identification. The following sections illustrate how polarimetric SARs can provide additional information for addressing these difficulties in interpretation and analysis.