Comparing C- and L-band SAR images for sea ice motion estimation
- Finnish Meteorological Institute, Marine Research Programme, Helsinki, PB 503, 00101 Finland
Abstract. Pairs of consecutive C-band synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) images are routinely used for sea ice motion estimation. The L-band radar has a fundamentally different character, as its longer wavelength penetrates deeper into sea ice. L-band SAR provides information on the seasonal sea ice inner structure in addition to the surface roughness that dominates C-band images. This is especially useful in the Baltic Sea, which lacks multiyear ice and icebergs, known to be confusing targets for L-band sea ice classification. In this work, L-band SAR images are investigated for sea ice motion estimation using the well-established maximal cross-correlation (MCC) approach. This work provides the first comparison of L-band and C-band SAR images for the purpose of motion estimation. The cross-correlation calculations are hardware accelerated using new OpenCL-based source code, which is made available through the author's web site. It is found that L-band images are preferable for motion estimation over C-band images. It is also shown that motion estimation is possible between a C-band and an L-band image using the maximal cross-correlation technique.