Related Research Areas
Earth Surface & Interior

Recent analyses of ICESat laser altimetry reveal the dramatic decline in Arctic sea ice freeboard and loss of sea ice volume between 2003 and 2008. This five-year observation period may be too short to yield any definitive conclusions about the long-term, negative trend in Arctic sea ice thickness. We therefore propose to continue to analyze new ICESat altimetric data, augmenting it with data from other satellites such as Envisat and the planned CryoSat-2 mission, in order to extend the time series of Arctic sea ice freeboard. We will assess the quality of satellite-derived sea ice freeboard through comparisons with coincident airborne laser and radar altimetry, as well as with in situ data sets collected by a suite of ice mass balance buoys circulating in the Arctic Ocean and direct measurements of snow and ice thickness gathered at an Arctic sea ice camp. Integral to the process of deriving sea ice freeboard is the accurate determination of sea surface height, which, in addition to its application in cryospheric studies, will be used to analyze dynamic ocean topography. Our research will seek to exploit both historical and current altimetric data sets provided by the ICESat and CryoSat-2 satellites, to better understand changes in the mean circulation of the Arctic Ocean. This study also aims to address the discrimination of the short wavelength geoidal signal from the mean dynamic topography signal. As part of the proposed analyses we will develop an updated, improved altimetric gravity field of the Arctic Ocean that extends to 88N. The proposed research responds directly to the primary and secondary program goals associated with this NASA Research Announcement of Opportunity; the program seeks to exploit ICESat and CryoSat-2 data products for investigations of sea ice freeboard and inferred thickness, polar oceanography and geodesy.

Project PI: Sinead Farrell/University of Maryland

World Weather Building, Suite 701 5200 Auth Road Camp Springs, Maryland 20746



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Started: Sep 27, 2010

Last Activity: Jan 04, 2011


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