Iceberg topography and volume classification using TanDEM-X interferometry
Journal article, 2019

Icebergs in polar regions affect water salinity, alter marine habitats, and impose serious hazards on maritime operations and navigation. These impacts mainly depend on the iceberg volume, which remains an elusive parameter to measure. We investigate the capability of TanDEM-X bistatic single-pass synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) to derive iceberg subaerial morphology and infer total volume. We cross-verify InSAR results with Operation IceBridge (OIB) data acquired near Wordie Bay, Antarctica, as part of the OIB/TanDEM-X Antarctic Science Campaign (OTASC). While icebergs are typically classified according to size based on length or maximum height, we develop a new volumetric classification approach for applications where iceberg volume is relevant. For icebergs with heights exceeding 5 m, we find iceberg volumes derived from TanDEM-X and OIB data match within 7 %. We also derive a range of possible iceberg keel depths relevant to grounding and potential impacts on subsea installations. These results suggest that TanDEM-X could pave the way for future single-pass interferometric systems for scientific and operational iceberg mapping and classification based on iceberg volume and keel depth.

iceberg drift

sea ice



Dyre Oliver Dammann


Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing

Leif Eriksson

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing

Son V. Nghiem

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Erin C. Pettit

Oregon State University

Nathan T. Kurtz

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

John G. Sonntag

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Thomas E. Busche

German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Franz J. Meyer

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Andrew R. Mahoney

University of Alaska Fairbanks


1994-0416 (ISSN) 1994-0424 (eISSN)

Vol. 13 7 1861-1875

Unfolding Sea Ice Dynamics with SAR

Swedish National Space Board (192/15), 2016-01-01 -- 2018-12-31.

Subject Categories

Remote Sensing

Water Engineering




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