Articles | Volume 15, issue 7
The Cryosphere, 15, 3401–3421, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-15-3401-2021
The Cryosphere, 15, 3401–3421, 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-15-3401-2021

Research article 21 Jul 2021

Research article | 21 Jul 2021

Spaceborne infrared imagery for early detection of Weddell Polynya opening

Céline Heuzé et al.

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For navigation or science planning, knowing when sea ice will open in advance is a prerequisite. Yet, to date, routine spaceborne microwave observations of sea ice are unable to do so. We present the first method based on spaceborne infrared that can forecast an opening several days ahead. We develop it specifically for the Weddell Polynya, a large hole in the Antarctic winter ice cover that unexpectedly re-opened for the first time in 40 years in 2016, and determine why the polynya opened.