Visible and thermal imaging of sea ice and open water from Coast Guard Arctic Domain Awareness flights

Thursday, 18 December 2014
C Chris Chickadel, Ronald W Lindsay and Daniel Clark, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States
An uncooled thermal camera (microbolometer) and RGB camera were mounted in the tail section of a US Coast Guard HC-130 to observe sea ice, open water, and cloud tops through the open rear cargo doors during routine Arctic Domain Awareness (ADA) flights. Recent flights were conducted over the Beaufort Sea in June, July, and August of 2014, with flights planned for September and October. Thermal and visible images were collected at low altitude (100m) during times when the cargo doors were open and recorded high resolution information on ice floes, melt ponds, and surface temperature variability associated with the marginal ice zone (MIZ). These observations of sea ice conditions and surface water temperatures will be used to characterize floe size development and the temperature and albedo of ice ponds and leads. This information will allow for a detailed characterization of sea ice that can be used in process studies and for model evaluation, calibration of satellite remote sensing products, and initialization of sea ice prediction schemes.