718 Comparing the Accuracy of AMSRE, AMSR2, SSMI and SSMIS Satellite Radiometer Ice Concentration Products with One-Meter Resolution Visible Imagery in the Arctic

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Emily R. Peterson, NPS, Monterey, CA; and T. P. Stanton

Determining ice concentration in the Arctic is necessary to track significant changes in sea ice edge extent. Sea ice concentrations are also needed to interpret data collected by in-situ instruments like buoys, as the amount of ice versus water in a given area determines local solar heating. Ice concentration products are now routinely derived from satellite radiometers including the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for the Earth Observing System (AMSR-E), the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2), the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSMI), and the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder (SSMIS). While these radiometers are viewed as reliable to monitor long-term changes in sea ice extent, their accuracy should be analyzed, and compared to determine which radiometer performs best over smaller features such as melt ponds, and how seasonal conditions affect accuracy. Knowledge of the accuracy of radiometers at high resolution can help future researchers determine which radiometer to use, and be aware of radiometer shortcomings in different ice conditions. This will be especially useful when interpreting data from in-situ instruments which deal with small scale measurements. In order to compare these passive microwave radiometers, selected high spatial resolution one-meter resolution Medea images, archived at the Unites States Geological Survey, are used for ground truth comparison. Sea ice concentrations are derived from these images in an interactive process, although estimates are not perfect ground truth due to exposure of images, shadowing and cloud cover.  68 images are retrieved from the USGS website and compared with 9 useable, collocated SSMI, 33 SSMIS, 36 AMSRE, and 14 AMSR2 ice concentrations in the Arctic Ocean. We analyze and compare the accuracy of radiometer instrumentation in differing ice conditions.
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