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Sea-ice concentration derived from GNSS reflection measurements in Fram Strait

Semmling, A. Maximilian; Rösel, Anja; Divine, Dmitry V.; Gerland, Sebastian; Stienne, Georges; Rebul, Serge; Ludwig, Marcel; Wickert, Jens; Schuh, Harald

Reflection power derived from the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) observations and its sensitivity to sea-ice concentration are investigated in this article. A corresponding experiment has been conducted during the Fram Strait cruise of the Norwegian research vessel Lance in summer 2016. The dedicated setup with a GNSS Occultation Reflectometry Scatterometry (GORS) receiver and dual-polarization (left- and right-handed) antenna links recorded 1922 h of reflection events during the 20-day cruise of the ship. The antenna setup, mounted 25.0 m above the waterline, serves to acquire sea surface reflections at grazing angles below 30°. Within a 5-min coherent integration period, direct and reflected signal contributions can be separated. Except for the highest sea states, with roll angle changes of 20° peak to peak, the separation allows to retrieve the reflection power and quantifies it in cross-, co-, and cross-to-co-polar ratios. The sea-ice concentration is inverted from power ratios using a non-linear least-squares algorithm. Additional data on sea-ice concentration gathered by a watchman on the ship are used for validation. The inversion results have a 20% resolution in concentration and 3-h resolution in time. The validation shows that the cross- and cross-to-co-polar data are sensitive to the sea-ice concentration. The respective Pearson correlation of 0.75 and 0.67 further suggests studies to foster the application of the GNSS data for sea-ice reflectometry.
Published in: IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 10.1109/TGRS.2019.2933911, IEEE