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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(9), 713;

Comparison of Arctic Sea Ice Thickness from Satellites, Aircraft, and PIOMAS Data

Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS)/Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC), UW-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Center for Satellite Applications and Research, NOAA/NESDIS, Madison, WI 53706, USA
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, 1013 NE 40th St., Seattle, WA 98105, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Walt Meier, Mark Tschudi, Magaly Koch and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 31 March 2016 / Revised: 20 August 2016 / Accepted: 25 August 2016 / Published: 30 August 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sea Ice Remote Sensing and Analysis)
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In this study, six Arctic sea ice thickness products are compared: the AVHRR Polar Pathfinder-extended (APP-x), ICESat, CryoSat-2, SMOS, NASA IceBridge aircraft flights, and the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS). The satellite products are based on three different retrieval methods: an energy budget approach, measurements of ice freeboard, and the relationship between passive microwave brightness temperatures and thin ice thickness. Inter-comparisons are done for the periods of overlap from 2003 to 2013. Results show that ICESat sea ice is thicker than APP-x and PIOMAS overall, particularly along the north coast of Greenland and Canadian Archipelago. The relative differences of APP-x and PIOMAS with ICESat are −0.48 m and −0.31 m, respectively. APP-x underestimates thickness relative to CryoSat-2, with a mean difference of −0.19 m. The biases for APP-x, PIOMAS, and CryoSat-2 relative to IceBridge thicknesses are 0.18 m, 0.18 m, and 0.29 m. The mean difference between SMOS and CryoSat-2 for 0~1 m thick ice is 0.13 m in March and −0.24 m in October. All satellite-retrieved ice thickness products and PIOMAS overestimate the thickness of thin ice (1 m or less) compared to IceBridge for which SMOS has the smallest bias (0.26 m). The spatial correlation between the datasets indicates that APP-x and PIOMAS are the most similar, followed by APP-x and CryoSat-2. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea ice thickness; Arctic; remote sensing; satellite; ICESat; CryoSat-2; SMOS; IceBridge; PIOMAS; APP-x sea ice thickness; Arctic; remote sensing; satellite; ICESat; CryoSat-2; SMOS; IceBridge; PIOMAS; APP-x

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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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Wang, X.; Key, J.; Kwok, R.; Zhang, J. Comparison of Arctic Sea Ice Thickness from Satellites, Aircraft, and PIOMAS Data. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 713.

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