Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
The Cryosphere, 10, 2217–2239, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-2217-2016
The Cryosphere, 10, 2217–2239, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-10-2217-2016

Research article 26 Sep 2016

Research article | 26 Sep 2016

The impact of melt ponds on summertime microwave brightness temperatures and sea-ice concentrations

Stefan Kern et al.

Data sets

EASE Grid sea ice age M. Tschudi, C. Fowler, J. Maslanik, J. S. Stewart, and W. Meier https://doi.org/10.5067/PFSVFZA9Y85G

AMSR-E/Aqua L2A global swath spatially-resampled brightness temperatures data set, version 3, P. Ashcroft and F. J. Wentz https://doi.org/10.5067/AMSR-E/AE_L2A.003

AMSR-E/AQUA daily L3 12.5 km brightness temperature, sea ice concentration and snow depth polar grids product, version 3 D. J. Cavalieri, T. Markus, and J. C. Comiso https://doi.org/10.5067/AMSRE/AE_SI12.003

MODIS surface data MODLAND Developers http://landweb.nascom.nasa.gov/developers/sn_tiles/sn_grid.html

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Short summary
Sea ice, frozen seawater floating on polar oceans, is covered by meltwater puddles, so-called melt ponds, during summer. Methods used to compute Arctic sea-ice concentration (SIC) from microwave satellite data are influenced by melt ponds. We apply eight such methods to one microwave dataset and compare SIC with visible data. We conclude all methods fail to distinguish melt ponds from leads between ice floes; SIC biases are negative (positive) for ponded (non-ponded) sea ice and can exceed 20 %.