Characterization of arctic sea ice thickness using high-resolution spaceborne polarimetric SAR data

Jin Woo Kim, Duk Jin Kim, Byong Jun Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we have investigated the relationship between the depolarization effects and the wintertime sea ice thickness in the landfast ice region where smooth thick first-year ice (FYI) and deformed old ice coexisted by using C- and X-band spaceborne polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data (RADARSAT-2 and TerraSAR-X). We have found a strong correlation between the in situ sea ice thickness and the SAR-derived depolarization factors (copolarized correlation and cross-polarized ratio). The observed relationships have demonstrated not only a categorical difference between FYI and multiyear ice (MYI) but also a one-to-one continuity in the scatter plots, rather than being clustered. It clearly shows that the observed correlations are not merely from the categorical difference in scattering mechanism between FYI and MYI and that there might exist a one-to-one relationship between thickness and depolarization factors at least in our deformed ice case. This suggests that depolarization factors could be effective SAR parameters in the estimation of wintertime sea ice thickness. Numerical model simulations explained some portions of the correlation by employing multiple scattering on the sea ice surface and volume scattering within the low-density subsurface layer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5966332
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of arctic sea ice thickness using high-resolution spaceborne polarimetric SAR data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this