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River ice phenology and thickness from satellite altimetry: potential for ice bridge road operation and climate studies

Abstract : River ice is a key component of the cryosphere. Satellite monitoring of river ice is a rapidly developing area of scientific enquiry, which has wide-ranging implications for climate, environmental and socioeconomic applications. Spaceborne radar altimetry is widely used for monitoring river water regimes; however, its potential for the observation of river ice processes and properties has not been demonstrated yet. Using Ku-band backscatter measurements from the Jason-2 and Jason-3 satellite missions (2008-2019), we demonstrate the potential of radar altimetry for the retrieval of river ice phenology dates and ice thickness for the first time. The altimetric measurements were determined to be sensitive enough to detect the first appearance of ice and the beginning of thermal breakup on the lower Ob River (Western Siberia). The uncertainties in the retrieval of ice event timing were within the 10 d repeat cycle of Jason-2 and Jason-3 in 88 %-90 % of the cases analysed. The uncertainties in the river ice thickness retrievals made via empirical relations between the satellite backscatter measurements and in situ observations, expressed as the root mean square error (RMSE), were of 0.07-0.18 m. A novel application of radar altimetry is the prediction of ice bridge road operations, which is demonstrated herein. We established that the dates of ferry closing and ice road opening and closing in the city of Salekhard can be predicted with an accuracy (expressed as RMSE) of 3-5 d.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 18, 2022 - 2:47:56 PM
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Elena Zakharova, Svetlana Agafonova, Claude Duguay, Natalia Frolova, Alexei Kouraev. River ice phenology and thickness from satellite altimetry: potential for ice bridge road operation and climate studies. The Cryosphere, 2021, 15, pp.5387-5407. ⟨10.5194/tc-15-5387-2021⟩. ⟨insu-03671316⟩



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