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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(3), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11030307

Radar Scatter Decomposition to Differentiate between Running Ice Accumulations and Intact Ice Covers along Rivers

Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, 11 Innovation Blvd., Saskatoon, SK S7N 3H5, Canada
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Received: 3 January 2019 / Revised: 31 January 2019 / Accepted: 31 January 2019 / Published: 3 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Environmental Changes in Cold Regions)
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Abstract

For ice-jam flood forecasting it is important to differentiate between intact ice covers and ice runs. Ice runs consist of long accumulations of rubble ice that stem from broken up ice covers or ice-jams that have released. A water wave generally travels ahead of the ice run at a faster celerity, arriving at the potentially high flood–risk area much sooner than the ice accumulation. Hence, a rapid detection of the ice run is necessary to lengthen response times for flood mitigation. Intact ice covers are stationary and hence are not an immediate threat to a downstream flood situation, allowing more time for flood preparedness. However, once ice accumulations are moving and potentially pose imminent impacts to flooding, flood response may have to switch from a mitigation to an evacuation mode of the flood management plan. Ice runs are generally observed, often by chance, through ground observations or airborne surveys. In this technical note, we introduce a novel method of differentiating ice runs from intact ice covers using imagery acquired from space-borne radar backscatter signals. The signals are decomposed into different scatter components—surface scattering, volume scattering and double-bounce—the ratios of one to another allow differentiation between intact and running ice. The method is demonstrated for the breakup season of spring 2018 along the Athabasca River, when an ice run shoved into an intact ice cover which led to some flooding in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. View Full-Text
Keywords: Athabasca River; decomposition; Fort McMurray; ice run; MODIS; RADARSAT-2 Athabasca River; decomposition; Fort McMurray; ice run; MODIS; RADARSAT-2
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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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Lindenschmidt, K.; Li, Z. Radar Scatter Decomposition to Differentiate between Running Ice Accumulations and Intact Ice Covers along Rivers. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 307.

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