Estimation of Discontinuous Non-Rigid Dynamics in Sea Ice Using Satellite Imagery

People: Mani Thomas, Chandra Kambhamettu and Cathleen Geiger

The changes in the global climatic conditions are believed to be intimately connected to the dynamics, thickness, and extent of the sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. Given the importance of these geophysical phenomena, researchers have undertaken many studies to ascertain the changes that are occurring in sea ice. With the availability of high-spatial resolution, and all-weather Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors, it is now possible to complement point measurements taken on the ice, with measurements from a much larger geophysical scale (500 ~ 1000 sqkm). This also provides a non-intrusive method to track sea ice, which is an important component in understanding the sea ice mass balance.

This work extends the body of knowledge on sea ice motion tracking in three specific directions. The first is in the development of a computationally efficient, high-resolution motion tracking system at the geo-spatial mesoscale (1 ~ 100 sqkm). Using this motion tracking algorithm, it is possible to estimate differential motion at a resolution of ~400m within a locally referenced coordinate system. Unlike Pan-Arctic products that track sea ice motion at a standard resolution of 3~5km, this motion tracking system is able to estimate local dynamics at a much finer resolution. This system thus provides a possible mechanism to complement existing large-scale motion tracking efforts with a fine resolution local motion. The second direction of this work focuses on the extension of the motion tracking technique to handle motion at close proximity to discontinuous regions. This work primarily stems from the requirement to identify and track discontinuous zones across large (basin) scales. Finally, this work also focuses on the development of a vector field interpolation technique. This technique allows vector field characteristics to be incorporated into the interpolation via local streamline approximations.

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