Integrated Airborne and In-Situ Measurements over Land-Fast Ice near Barrow, AK.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Joan M Gardner1, John M Brozena1, Robert Liang1, David Ball2, Jacqueline Richter-Menge3, Keran J Claffey3, Andrei Abelev1, David A Hebert4 and Kate Jones5, (1)Naval Research Lab, Washington, DC, United States, (2)ITT Exelis Inc. Herndon, Herndon, VA, United States, (3)USA CRREL, Hanover, NH, United States, (4)Naval Research Lab, Stennis Space Center, MS, United States, (5)Naval Research Enterprise Intern Program, Washington, DC, United States
During March of 2014, the Naval Research Laboratory and the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory collected an integrated set of airborne and in-situ measurements over two areas of floating, but land-fast ice near the coast of Barrow, AK. The near-shore site was just north of Point Barrow, and the “offshore” site was ~ 20 km east of Point Barrow. The in-situ data provided ground-truth for airborne measurements from a scanning LiDAR (Riegl Q 560i), digital photogrammetry (Applanix DSS-439) and a snow radar procured from the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets of the University of Kansas. The objective of the survey was to aid our understanding of the use of the airborne data to calibrate/validate Cryosat-2 data.

Sampling size or “footprint” plays a critical role in the attempt to compare in-situ measurements with airborne (or satellite) measurements. Thus the in-situ data were arranged to minimize aliasing. Ground measurements were collected along transects at both sites consisting of a 2 km long profile of snow depth and ice thickness measurements with periodic boreholes. A 60 m x 400 m swath of snow depth measurements was centered on this profile.

Airborne data were collected on five overflights of the two transect areas. The LiDAR measured total freeboard (ice + snow) referenced to leads in the ice, and produced swaths 200-300 m wide. The radar measured snow thickness. The freeboard and snow thickness measurements are used to estimate ice thickness via isostasy and density estimates. The central swath of in situ snow depth data allows examination of the effects of cross-track variations considering the relatively large footprint of the snow radar. Assuming a smooth, flat surface the radar range resolution in air is < 4 cm, but the along-track sampling distance is ~ 3 m after unfocussed SAR processing. The width of the footprint varies from ~ 9 m up to about 40 m (beam-limited) for uneven surfaces. However, the radar could not resolve snow thickness except in areas of relatively flat snow and ice. The LiDAR had a ground point spacing of ~25-50 cm (depending on survey altitude) and so easily encompassed all other data.

Comparisons and processing methodology will be shown. The results of this ground-truth experiment will inform our analysis of grids of airborne data collected over areas of sea-ice illuminated by Cryosat-2.