16 Jan 2023
16 Jan 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Spaceborne thermal infrared observations of Arctic sea ice leads at 30 m resolution

Yujia Qiu1,2,3, Xiao-Ming Li2,1, and Huadong Guo2,1 Yujia Qiu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100094, China
  • 2International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals, Beijing 100094, China
  • 3University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Abstract. Sea ice leads are elongated fractures within sea ice cover, playing an important role in the heat exchange from the ocean to the overlying atmosphere. Narrow leads less than a hundred meters in width contribute considerable heat fluxes, requiring fine-scale observation of Arctic leads. With the launch of Sustainable Development Science Satellite 1 (SDGSAT-1) by China on 5 November 2021, the on-board Thermal Infrared Spectrometer (TIS) provides thermal infrared imagery at an unprecedented resolution of 30 m in a swath of 300 km. We propose a method adapted to the TIS high-resolution infrared images for lead detection in the Arctic. For the first time, the spatial resolution of leads by infrared remote sensing increases from the scale of kilometers to tens of meters. For the Beaufort Sea cases in April 2022, the detection is consistent with the Sentinel-2 visible images, yielding an overall accuracy of 96.30 %. Compared with the Moderate-Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), the TIS presents more leads with width less hundreds of meters than the results based on the MODIS data. For the three infrared bands of the TIS, the B2 (10.3–11.3 µm) and B3 (11.5–12.5 µm) bands, show similar performances in detecting leads. The B1 band (8.0–10.5 µm) can be complementary to the other two bands, as the temperature measurement sensitivity is different from the other two, benefiting better detection by combining the three bands. This study demonstrates that SDGSAT-1 TIS data at 30 m resolution is well applicable for observing previously unresolvable ice leads, and will provide insight into the contribution of narrow leads to rapid sea ice changes in the Arctic.

Yujia Qiu et al.

Status: open (until 13 Mar 2023)

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Yujia Qiu et al.

Yujia Qiu et al.


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Short summary
Spaceborne thermal infrared sensors with kilometer-scale resolution cannot support adequate parameterization of Arctic leads. For the first time, we applied the 30 m resolution data from the Thermal Infrared Spectrometer (TIS) on the emerging SDGSAT-1 to detect Arctic leads. Validation with Sentinel-2 data shows high accuracy for the three TIS bands. Compared to the MODIS, the TIS presents more narrow leads, demonstrating its great potential for observing previously unresolvable Arctic leads.