Traversing Sea Ice-Linking Surface Roughness and Ice Trafficability Through SAR Polarimetry and Interferometry
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2018

Arctic landfast sea ice is widely utilized for transportation by local communities and industry, with trafficability largely governed by ice roughness. Here, we introduce an approach to evaluate ice roughness that can aid in routing of ice roads and assessment of spatial variability and long-term changes in trafficability. Drawing on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) polarimetry, SAR interferometry (InSAR), and other remote sensing techniques, we integrated approaches into the trafficability assessment that had rarely been applied over sea ice in the past. Analysis of aerial photogrammetry obtained through structure-from-motion helped verify cm-scale accuracy of X-band InSAR-derived ridge height and link L-band polarimetric classification to specific roughness regimes. Jointly, these approaches enable a km-scale evaluation of ridge topography and cm-to m-scale roughness-both critical for the assessment of trafficability. A trafficability index was derived from such SAR data in conjunction with analysis of ice trail routing and ice use near Utqiaġvik, Alaska. The index identifies areas of reduced trafficability, associated with pressure ridges or rubble ice, and served to delineate favorable trail routes for different modes of transportation, with potential uses ranging from ice road routing to emergency evacuation. Community outreach is needed to explore how this approach could assist different ice users in reducing risk, minimizing trail or ice construction efforts, and improving safety.

radar polarimetry

Radar interferometry

synthetic aperture radar

surface topography

surface roughness

sea ice


Dyre Oliver Dammann

Chalmers, Rymd-, geo- och miljövetenskap, Mikrovågs- och optisk fjärranalys

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Hajo Eicken

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Andrew R. Mahoney

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Eyal Saiet

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Franz J. Meyer

University of Alaska Fairbanks

John C. Craig George

North Slope Borough

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

1939-1404 (ISSN)

Vol. 11 416-433 8239599


Transportteknik och logistik


Multidisciplinär geovetenskap