Accurate measurements of the sea ice area and thickness with the aid of ranging data provided by missions such as CryoSat-2 are crucial for the understanding of the transformations occurring in the Arctic, in light of observed changes in seasonality, increase of winter air temperatures and delays in freeze-up.
An important factor in the calculation of the sea ice freeboard is the time delay due to slower radar pulse propagation in snow. Research led by Robbie Mallett, a Ph.D. student at UCL in the UK, and supported by Dr. Jack Landy, one of the #livingplanetfellows investigates methods for the calculation of this time delay and studies how factoring snow density into the correction for slower radar propagation in snow can contribute to improved measurement accuracy. This research was partially supported by European Space Agency Living Planet Fellowship project Arctic-SummIT.
A preprint of the paper (discussion open) is available.
Mallett, R. D. C., Lawrence, I. R., Stroeve, J. C., Landy, J. C., and Tsamados, M.: Brief Communication: Conventional assumptions involving the speed of radar waves in snow introduce systematic underestimates to sea ice thickness and seasonal growth rate estimates, The Cryosphere Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2019-198, in review, 2019.