Physical Basis for Microwave Remote Sensing of Sea Ice and Snow

  • Martti Hallikainen
Conference paper
Part of the Nato ASI Series book series (volume 45)

Abstract

About 10% of the world Ocean is covered by sea ice during some portion of the year. Sea ice participates in the key large-scale processes of the Earth’s climate system, the absorption and emission of radiant energy, and the poleward flux of heat (Carsey et al., 1992). This participation comes about through processes involving the atmosphere, the ocean, and the radiation field. Some of these are outlined below:
  • Radiative balance: The snow-covered sea ice has a very high albedo relative to that of the open ocean. Therefore, changes in sea ice extent cause drastic changes in the surface albedo of the high-latitude seas.

  • Surface heat: Although the fully developed ice cover is an effective insulator between the cold air and the relatively warm ocean, areas of open water and thin ice lose heat rapidly during the cold seasons (Maykut, 1986).

  • Ice margin processes: The abrupt transition to open water gives rise to unique processes, including water mass formation, oceanic upwelling, eddy formation, and generation of atmospheric instability (Muench et al., 1987).

  • Operations: Navigation and trafficability on and below the surface, drill ship operations in the marginal seas and harbor operations are concerned with locating areas of thin ice, identifying hazards such as very thick and deformed ice, and forecasting ice conditions.

Keywords

Biomass Porosity Crystallization Migration Microwave 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martti Hallikainen
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Space TechnologyHelsinki University of TechnologyEspooFinland

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