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Satellite-Based Sea Ice Navigation for Prydz Bay, East Antarctica

State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Joint Center for Global Change Studies, Beijing 100875, China
Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Toronto, ON M3H5T4, Canada
Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
Key Laboratory of Research on Marine Hazards Forecasting (SOA), National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center, Beijing 100081, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Weimin Huang and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(6), 518;
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 4 May 2017 / Accepted: 17 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
PDF [14487 KB, uploaded 27 May 2017]


Sea ice adversely impacts nautical, logistical and scientific missions in polar regions. Ship navigation benefits from up-to-date sea ice analyses at both regional and local scales. This study presents a satellite-based sea ice navigation system (SatSINS) that integrates observations and scientific output from remote sensing and meteorological data to develop optimum marine navigational routes in sea ice-covered waters, especially in areas where operational ice information is usually scarce. The system and its applications are presented in the context of a decision-making process to optimize the routing of the RV Xuelong during her passage through Prydz Bay, East Antarctica during three trips in the austral spring of 2011–2013. The study assesses scientifically-generated remote sensing ice parameters for their operational use in marine navigation. Evaluation criteria involve identification of priority parameters, their spatio-temporal requirements in relation to navigational needs, and their level of accuracy in conjunction with the severity of ice conditions. Coarse-resolution ice concentration maps are sufficient to delineate ice edge and develop a safe route when ice concentration is less than 70%, provided that ice dynamics, estimated from examining the cyclonic pattern, is not severe. Otherwise, fine-resolution radar data should be used to identify and avoid deformed ice. Satellite data lagging one day behind the actual location of the ship was sufficient in most cases although the proposed route may have to be adjusted. To evaluate the utility of SatSINS, deviation of the actual route from the proposed route was calculated and found to range between 165 m to about 16.0 km with standard deviations of 2.8–6.1 km. Growth of land-fast ice has proven to be an essential component of the system as it was estimated using a thermodynamic model with input from a meteorological station. View Full-Text
Keywords: sea ice; remote sensing; marine navigation; Antarctica sea ice; remote sensing; marine navigation; Antarctica

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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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Hui, F.; Zhao, T.; Li, X.; Shokr, M.; Heil, P.; Zhao, J.; Zhang, L.; Cheng, X. Satellite-Based Sea Ice Navigation for Prydz Bay, East Antarctica. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 518.

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