08 Nov 2023
 | 08 Nov 2023

Novel methods to study sea ice deformation, linear kinematic features and coherent dynamic elements from imaging remote sensing data

Polona Itkin

Abstract. Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data are commonly utilized for calculating sea ice displacements and, consequently, sea ice deformation strain rates. However, strain rate calculations often suffer from a poor signal-to-noise ratio, especially for products with a spatial resolution higher than 1 km. In this study, we applied a new filtering method to strain rate calculations derived from Sentinel-1 SAR image pairs with a spatial resolution of 800 m. Subsequently, we employed a power law to evaluate the deformation rates at decreasing spatial resolutions, assessing the quality of the filtered data. Upon positive evaluation of the filtered data, we introduced two innovative methods for sea ice deformation assessment. The first method, named 'damage parcels' (DP) tracking, involved the combined analysis of displacements and deformation strain rates to monitor divergence and convergence within the sea ice cover. Additionally, we proposed a new term to describe the behavior of the winter pack: 'Coherent Dynamic Elements' (CDE). CDEs are cohesive clusters of ice plates within the pack ice that move coherently along Linear Kinematic Features (LKFs). The second novel method developed in this study focused on exploring the geometrical properties of these CDEs. Both methods were applied to the winter collection of Sentinel-1 SAR imagery available during the N-ICE2015 campaign. Our results revealed a cyclically changing winter sea ice cover, marked by synoptic events and transitions from pack ice to the marginal ice zone. The DP were continuously tracked over a period of three weeks, including a major storm, revealing a remarkably slow healing process of existing LKFs. Furthermore, the CDE analysis demonstrated the presence of elongated CDEs with a density ranging from 5 to 20 per 100 km by 100 km, and the shortest distance between LKFs was found to be 5–10 km.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Polona Itkin

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2626', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Nov 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2626', Andrew Mahoney, 28 Dec 2023
Polona Itkin
Polona Itkin


Total article views: 373 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
243 105 25 373 14 12
  • HTML: 243
  • PDF: 105
  • XML: 25
  • Total: 373
  • BibTeX: 14
  • EndNote: 12
Views and downloads (calculated since 08 Nov 2023)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 08 Nov 2023)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 354 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 354 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 21 May 2024
Short summary
We analyzed radar satellite images of sea ice to understand how sea ice moves and deforms. This data is noisy, especially when looking at small details. We developed a method to filter out the noise. We used the filtered data to monitor how ice plates stretch and compresses over time, revealing slow healing of ice fractures. We also studied cohesive clusters of ice plates that move together. Our methods provide climate-relevant insights into the dynamic nature of winter sea ice cover.