Reduction of weather effects in the calculation of sea ice concentration from microwave radiances


  • P. Gloersen,

  • D. J. Cavalieri


A technique is presented which improves existing methods of calculating sea ice concentrations from microwave radiances by reducing weather-related effects over open ocean areas and in the vicinity of marginal sea ice zones. Winds, atmospheric water vapor, cloud liquid water, and rain increase the microwave emission over these regions and thus result in erroneous values of computed sea ice concentration. The method described is based on the microwave spectral properties of sea ice and ice-free ocean and utilizes ratios of the polarized radiances at the 0.81-cm (37 GHz) and 1.7-cm (18 GHz) wavelengths. Following a discussion of the physical basis for this technique, examples are provided which demonstrate its utility. While the technique was developed for use with the Nimbus 7 scanning multi-channel microwave radiometer data, it is applicable also to data from other microwave radiometers operating in a similar wavelength range.