First-Year and Multiyear Sea Ice Incidence Angle Normalization of Dual-Polarized Sentinel-1 SAR Images in the Beaufort Sea
Journal article, 2020

Automatic and visual sea ice classification of SAR imagery is impeded by the incidence angle dependence of backscatter intensities. Knowledge of the angular dependence of different ice types is therefore necessary to account for this effect. While consistent estimates exist for HH polarization for different ice types, they are lacking HV polarization data, especially for multiyear sea ice. Here we investigate the incidence angle dependence of smooth and rough/deformed first-year and multiyear ice of different ages for wintertime dual-polarization Sentinel-1 C-band SAR imagery in the Beaufort Sea. Assuming a linear relationship, this dependence is determined using the difference in incidence angle and backscatter intensities from ascending and descending images of the same area. At cross-polarization rough/deformed first-year sea ice shows the strongest angular dependence with -text{0.11} dB/1{circ } followed by multiyear sea ice with -text{0.07} dB/text{1}{circ }, and old multiyear ice (older than three years) with -text{0.04} dB/text{1}{circ }. The noise floor is found to have a strong impact on smooth first-year ice and estimated slopes are therefore not fully reliable. At co-polarization, we obtained slope values of -0.24, -0.20, -text{0.15}, and -text{0.10} dB/text{1}{circ } for smooth first-year, rough/deformed first-year, multiyear, and old multiyear sea ice, respectively. Furthermore, we show that imperfect noise correction of the first subswath influences the obtained slopes for multiyear sea ice. We demonstrate that incidence angle normalization should not only be applied to co-polarization but should also be considered for cross-polarization images to minimize intra ice type variation in backscatter intensity throughout the entire image swath.


Incidence angle

sea ice


Wiebke Aldenhoff

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

Leif Eriksson

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

Yufang Ye

Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai)

Céline Heuzé

University of Gothenburg

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing

1939-1404 (ISSN) 2151-1535 (eISSN)

Vol. 13 1540-1550 9056528

Unfolding Sea Ice Dynamics with SAR

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

Subject Categories

Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

Physical Geography

Geosciences, Multidisciplinary



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