Validation of AMSR-E Antarctic Sea-Ice Products in East Antarctica, Late Winter-Spring, 2003

PI: Robert A. Massom
Institution: Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre
c/o University of Tasmania
GPO Box 252-80
Hobart, Tasmania 7053, Australia
Phone: +61 3 6226 7647
FAX: +61 3 6226 7650

- Vicky Lytle, Antarctic CRC and Australian Antarctic Division
- Tony Worby, Antarctic CRC and Australian Antarctic Division
- Kelvin Michael, Antarctic CRC
- Neal Young, Antarctic CRC and Australian Antarctic Division


NASA EOS-PSO funding through FY02: Not applicable (Non-US investigators)


The proposed research will use the Australian icebreaker R/V Aurora Australis as a platform from which to carry out a detailed validation of AMSR-E sea-ice products (ice concentration, temperature, snow depth on sea ice) collected in East Antarctica. The cruise will take place over a 20-day period in the September-November timeframe of 2003 (exact dates tbd), and in the Mertz Glacier Polynya region (~65-67°S, 140-148°E). This region contains a wide variety of sea-ice types, ranging from frazil ice to assemblages of thick (>5 m) multiyear and broken-out fast-ice floes, and inner pack and polynya to marginal ice zone conditions. The study will be closely coordinated with the NASA AMSR-E validation effort through close collaboration with NASA colleagues (e.g. Drs Joey Comiso and Don Cavalieri). The work will extend and supplement planned efforts elsewhere in Antarctica, where sea-ice conditions are significantly different. It will concentrate on the austral spring, when uncertainties in algorithm performance and accuracy are at their greatest. US and international experts have been invited to participate. Detailed data will be collected on sea-ice concentration, ice and snow thickness, properties and physical temperature, as well as atmospheric parameters to determine atmospheric contamination effects and determine their correction. Digital aerial photography will also be collected using helicopters and possibly fixed-wing aircraft. The Aurora Australis itself will be equipped with a range of sensors, including radiometers and radars, as well as electromagnetic-induction sounding and laser devices. Operating continuously along the ship's track, these latter sensors give important information on snow and ice thickness. The cruise will also provide an opportunity to test new technologies, such as a low-frequency radiometer; the latter has the potential to provide additional important information on sea ice thickness. Snow thickness radar sensors will also be tested, through collaboration with Dr Prasad Gogineni (University of Kansas). The overall aim is to identify and quantify key error sources affecting AMSR-E algorithms (e.g. wetting of the snow cover), with a view to improving overall algorithm performance over the Antarctic sea-ice zone. The study will adopt a synergistic approach by incorporating other satellite and in situ data. In addition to ice concentration, physical temperature and snow thickness, the study will also validate the research products i.e. sea-ice type and regional classification, and ice motion. Drifting buoy data will provide "Ground truth" information with which to validate sea-ice motion products derived from AMSR-E (and other satellite sensors).