10 Jan 2024
 | 10 Jan 2024

A Study of Sea Ice Topography in the Weddell and Ross Seas Using Dual Polarimetric TanDEM-X Imagery

Lanqing Huang and Irena Hajnsek

Abstract. The sea ice topography is essential for understanding the interactions within the air-ocean-ice system. Single-pass interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) allows for the generation of digital elevation model (DEM) over the drift sea ice. However, accurate sea ice DEMs (i.e., snow freeboard) derived from InSAR are impeded due to the radar signals penetrating the snow and ice layers. This research introduces a novel methodology for retrieving sea ice DEMs using dual-polarization interferometric SAR images, considering the variation in radar penetration bias across multiple ice types. The accuracy of the method is verified through photogrammetric measurements, demonstrating the derived DEM with a root-mean-square error of 0.26 m over a 200 x 19 km area. The method is further applied to broader regions in the Weddell and the Ross Sea, offering new insights into the regional variations of sea ice topography in the Antarctic. We also characterize the non-Gaussian statistical behavior of sea ice elevations using log-normal and exponential-normal distributions. The results suggest that the exponential-normal distribution is superior in the thicker sea ice region (average elevation >0.5 m, whereas the two distributions exhibit similar performance in the thinner ice region (average elevation <0.5 m). These findings offer an in-depth representation of sea ice elevation and roughness in the Weddell and Ross Sea, which can be conducted in time series data to comprehend sea ice dynamics, including its growth and deformation.

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.
Lanqing Huang and Irena Hajnsek

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-2023-2954', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Feb 2024
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Lanqing Huang, 02 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2954', Anonymous Referee #2, 08 Feb 2024
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Lanqing Huang, 02 Apr 2024
Lanqing Huang and Irena Hajnsek
Lanqing Huang and Irena Hajnsek


Total article views: 334 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
229 83 22 334 10 10
  • HTML: 229
  • PDF: 83
  • XML: 22
  • Total: 334
  • BibTeX: 10
  • EndNote: 10
Views and downloads (calculated since 10 Jan 2024)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 10 Jan 2024)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 333 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 333 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 22 May 2024
Short summary
Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can measure the height of drifting sea ice, but it can be biased when radar signals penetrate snow and ice. We develop a new method to improve the topographic estimation, and analyze the regional variation of sea ice height and roughness in the Weddell and Ross Seas. We also investigate the statistical behavior of ice heights for diverse ice types. These findings improve our understanding of Antarctic sea ice topography and its dynamics under the changing climate.