Information on ice is important for shipping, weather forecasting, and climate monitoring. Historically, ice cover has been detected and ice concentration has been measured using relatively low-resolution space-based passive microwave data. This study presents an algorithm to detect ice and estimate ice concentration in clear-sky areas over the ocean and inland lakes and rivers using high-resolution data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard the Suomi National Polar Orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) and on future Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) satellites, providing spatial detail that cannot be obtained with passive microwave data. A threshold method is employed with visible and infrared observations to identify ice, then a tie-point algorithm is used to determine the representative reflectance/temperature of pure ice, estimate the ice concentration, and refine the ice cover mask. The VIIRS ice concentration is validated using observations from Landsat 8. Results show that VIIRS has an overall bias of −0.3% compared to Landsat 8 ice concentration, with a precision (uncertainty) of 9.5%. Biases and precision values for different ice concentration subranges from 0% to 100% can be larger.
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