Monitoring Arctic Sea Ice with CryoSat-2 and ICESat-2

Sinead Farrell (University of Maryland, United States)


Kyle Duncan (University of Maryland, USA); Ellen Buckley (University of Maryland, USA); John Kuhn (NOAA/NESDIS/STAR Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, USA)

Event: 2020 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting (virtual)

Session: Science IV: Altimetry for Cryosphere and Hydrology

Presentation type: Type Forum

There is widespread observational evidence that significant, and rapid, changes are occurring in the Arctic climate system. Air temperatures in the Arctic are warming at twice the global rate causing sea surface and permafrost temperatures to increase. Perhaps one of the largest changes has occurred in the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean, which has declined in both extent and thickness over the last four decades. The ongoing loss of ice has not only serious implications for Earth’s climate, but also wide-ranging ecological and socio-economic impacts. The Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) on ICESat-2 offers a new remote sensing capability to measure the complex sea ice surface at high resolution. Here we provide a review of the recent changes underway in the Arctic. We also explore the first two years of sea ice retrievals from ICESat-2, demonstrating its capability to track the evolution of the ice cover in all seasons. We compare ICESat-2 sea ice freeboard and thickness results with independent, but complementary results from ESA's CryoSat-2 radar altimeter.
Sinead Farrell
University of Maryland
United States