Assimilation of ice and water observations from SAR imagery to improve estimates of sea ice concentration

Article English OPEN
Scott, K. Andrea ; Ashouri, Zahra ; Buehner, Mark ; Pogson, Lynn ; Carrieres, Tom (2015)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: Tellus A (issn: 1600-0870, eissn: 0280-6495)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/tellusa.v%v.27218
  • Subject: sea ice; data assimilation, synthetic aperture radar, binary, Bayesian, probability, forward model | Sea ice; Data assimilation
    arxiv: Physics::Geophysics | Physics::Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics | Astrophysics::Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

In this paper, the assimilation of binary observations calculated from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images of sea ice is investigated. Ice and water observations are obtained from a set of SAR images by thresholding ice and water probabilities calculated using a supervised maximum likelihood estimator (MLE). These ice and water observations are then assimilated in combination with ice concentration from passive microwave imagery for the purpose of estimating sea ice concentration. Due to the fact that the observations are binary, consisting of zeros and ones, while the state vector is a continuous variable (ice concentration), the forward model used to map the state vector to the observation space requires special consideration. Both linear and non-linear forward models were investigated. In both cases, the assimilation of SAR data was able to produce ice concentration analyses in closer agreement with image analysis charts than when assimilating passive microwave data only. When both passive microwave and SAR data are assimilated, the bias between the ice concentration analyses and the ice concentration from ice charts is 19.78%, as compared to 26.72% when only passive microwave data are assimilated. The method presented here for the assimilation of SAR data could be applied to other binary observations, such as ice/water information from visual/infrared sensors.Keywords: sea ice, data assimilation, synthetic aperture radar, binary, Bayesian, probability, forward model(Published: 18 September 2015)Citation: Tellus A 2015, 67, 27218, http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/tellusa.v67.27218
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