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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(1), 4; doi:10.3390/rs8010004

Sea-Ice Wintertime Lead Frequencies and Regional Characteristics in the Arctic, 2003–2015

Department of Environmental Meteorology, University of Trier, Trier 54296, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Walt Meier, Mark Tschudi, Magaly Koch and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 30 October 2015 / Revised: 4 December 2015 / Accepted: 10 December 2015 / Published: 22 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Ice Remote Sensing and Analysis)
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Abstract

The presence of sea-ice leads represents a key feature of the Arctic sea ice cover. Leads promote the flux of sensible and latent heat from the ocean to the cold winter atmosphere and are thereby crucial for air-sea-ice-ocean interactions. We here apply a binary segmentation procedure to identify leads from MODIS thermal infrared imagery on a daily time scale. The method separates identified leads into two uncertainty categories, with the high uncertainty being attributed to artifacts that arise from warm signatures of unrecognized clouds. Based on the obtained lead detections, we compute quasi-daily pan-Arctic lead maps for the months of January to April, 2003–2015. Our results highlight the marginal ice zone in the Fram Strait and Barents Sea as the primary region for lead activity. The spatial distribution of the average pan-Arctic lead frequencies reveals, moreover, distinct patterns of predominant fracture zones in the Beaufort Sea and along the shelf-breaks, mainly in the Siberian sector of the Arctic Ocean as well as the well-known polynya and fast-ice locations. Additionally, a substantial inter-annual variability of lead occurrences in the Arctic is indicated. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea-ice; leads; remote sensing; MODIS sea-ice; leads; remote sensing; MODIS
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Willmes, S.; Heinemann, G. Sea-Ice Wintertime Lead Frequencies and Regional Characteristics in the Arctic, 2003–2015. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 4.

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