Characterization of sea ice surface topography using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)

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2014-05-27, 2014-07-28, 2015-03-26, 2015-12-23
Jack, Landy
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Where once the Arctic basin held predominantly old, thick perennial sea ice, it is now increasingly occupied by young, thin seasonal ice. The sea ice surface topography, which affects and is affected by many of the physical processes operating at the interface between ocean, sea ice and atmosphere, is closely related to the age and type of sea ice cover. In this thesis, new methods are presented for measuring and understanding sea ice topography using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology. A new technique is presented for parameterizing the micro-scale roughness of sea ice using terrestrial LiDAR. Field, laboratory and numerical experiments have been carried out to test the precision and accuracy of the technique, and calibrations have been developed for correcting field observations of surface roughness for known biases. Results obtained using this technique have been applied in several microwave remote sensing and electromagnetic-wave scattering model studies of snow-covered and melting sea ice. Terrestrial and satellite LiDAR observations are acquired and combined in a further study to examine how sea ice surface topography regulates the melting of ice during the Arctic summer. Observations from a field program in the Canadian Arctic show that minor variations in the roughness of pre-melt sea ice topography can affect significant variations in the melt pond coverage at the ice surface in summer. Numerical simulations are used to develop a quantitative understanding of these findings and, when applied to satellite observations, explain most of the spatial variation in Arctic summer ice melting rates. Results suggest that a recent reduction in sea ice roughness, caused by progressive changes in the type of sea ice resident in the Arctic Ocean, has accelerated the summer melting and decline of the Arctic sea ice cover.
Sea ice, Remote sensing, LiDAR
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Landy, J.C., Isleifson, D., Komarov, A.S., Barber, D.G. (2015), Parameterization of centimetre-scale sea ice surface roughness using terrestrial LiDAR, IEEE Trans. Geosci. Rem. Sens., 53(3), doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2014.2336833.
Landy, J.C., Komarov, A.S., Barber, D.G. (2015), Numerical and experimental evaluation of terrestrial LiDAR for parameterizing centimetre-scale sea ice surface roughness, IEEE Trans. Geosci. Rem. Sens., 53(9), 4887-4898, doi: 10.1109/TGRS.2015.2412034.
Landy, J.C., Ehn, J.K., Barber, D.G. (2015), Albedo feedback enhanced by smoother Arctic sea ice, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42(24), 10714-10720, doi: 10.1002/2015GL066712.