16 Dec 2020

16 Dec 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

River ice phenology and thickness from satellite altimetry. Potential for ice bridge road operation

Elena Zakharova1,6, Svetlana Agafonova2, Claude Duguay3,4, Natalia Frolova2, and Alexei Kouraev5 Elena Zakharova et al.
  • 1IWP RAS, Moscow, Russia
  • 2MSU, Moscow, Russia
  • 3University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
  • 4H2O Geomatics, Waterloo, Canada
  • 5LEGOS/OMP, Toulouse, France
  • 6EOLA, Toulouse, France

Abstract. River ice is an important component of land cryosphere. Satellite monitoring of river ice is rapidly developing scientific area with an important outcome for many climate, environmental and socio-economic applications. Radar altimetry, now widely used for monitoring of river water regime, demonstrates a good potential for observation of river ice phenology and for an estimation of river ice thickness. Jason-2 and -3 Ku-band backscatter measurements are sensitive enough for detection of first appearance of the ice and of beginning of thermal ice degradation on the Lower Ob River (Western Siberia). Uncertainties of the altimetric ice events timing are less than 10 days for 88–90 % of cases. River ice thickness retrieved from altimetric measurements via empirical relations with in situ observations, has an accuracy (expressed as RMSE) varying from 0.07 to 0.18 m. We demonstrated that using satellite altimetry the dates of ice road opening at Salekhard city can be predicted quite accurately with 4 days delay. Uncertainties for the prediction of dates of the ice road closure are of 3 days with the delay varying from 4 days (for late melting start) to 22 days (for yearly melting start).

Elena Zakharova et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
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Elena Zakharova et al.

Elena Zakharova et al.


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Short summary
The paper investigates a performance of altimetric satellite instrument to detect river ice onset and melting and to retrieve ice thickness of the Ob River. This is a first attempt to use the satellite altimetry for monitoring ice in the challenging conditions restraint by the object size. A novel approach permitted elaboration of spatio-temporal Ob River ice thickness product. The potential of the product for climate change monitoring and for prediction of ice road operation was demonstrated.