A novel method based on the curvelet transform and active contour method to automatically detect the ice edge in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery is proposed. The method utilizes the location of high curvelet coefficients to determine regions in the image likely to contain the ice edge. Using an ice edge from passive microwave sea ice concentration for initialization, these regions are then joined using the active contour method to obtain the final ice edge. The method is evaluated on four dual polarization SAR scenes of the Labrador sea. Through comparison of the ice edge with that from image analysis charts, it is demonstrated that the proposed method can detect the ice edge effectively in SAR images. This is particularly relevant when the marginal ice zone is diffuse or the ice is thin, and using the definition of ice edge from the passive microwave ice concentration would underestimate the ice edge location. It is expected that the method may be useful for operations in marginal ice zones, such as offshore drilling, where a high resolution estimate of the ice edge location is required. It could also be useful as a first guess for an ice analyst, or for the assimilation of SAR data.
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