Estimation of degree of sea ice ridging based on dual-polarized C-band SAR data
Abstract. For ship navigation in the Baltic Sea ice, parameters such as ice edge, ice concentration, ice thickness and degree of ridging are usually reported daily in manually prepared ice charts. These charts provide icebreakers with essential information for route optimization and fuel calculations. However, manual ice charting requires long analysis times, and detailed analysis of large areas (e.g. Arctic Ocean) is not feasible. Here, we propose a method for automatic estimation of the degree of ice ridging in the Baltic Sea region, based on RADARSAT-2 C-band dual-polarized (HH/HV channels) SAR texture features and sea ice concentration information extracted from Finnish ice charts. The SAR images were first segmented and then several texture features were extracted for each segment. Using the random forest method, we classified them into four classes of ridging intensity and compared them to the reference data extracted from the digitized ice charts. The overall agreement between the ice-chart-based degree of ice ridging and the automated results varied monthly, being 83, 63 and 81 % in January, February and March 2013, respectively. The correspondence between the degree of ice ridging reported in the ice charts and the actual ridge density was validated with data collected during a field campaign in March 2011. In principle the method can be applied to the seasonal sea ice regime in the Arctic Ocean.