Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-157
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-157

  07 Jun 2021

07 Jun 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Antarctic snow-covered sea ice topography derivation from TanDEM-X using polarimetric SAR interferometry

Lanqing Huang1, Georg Fischer2, and Irena Hajnsek1,2 Lanqing Huang et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
  • 2Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Wessling 82234, Germany

Abstract. Single-pass interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) enables the possibility for sea ice topographic retrieval despite the inherent dynamics of sea ice. InSAR digital elevation models (DEM) are measuring the radar scattering centre height. The height bias induced by the penetration of electromagnetic waves into snow and ice leads to inaccuracies of the InSAR DEM, especially for multi-year sea ice with snow 5 cover. In this study, an elevation difference between the satellite-measured InSAR DEM and the airborne-measured optical DEM is observed from a coordinated campaign over the western Weddell Sea in Antarctica. The objective is to correct the penetration bias and generate a precise sea ice topographic map from the single-pass InSAR data. With the potential of retrieving sea ice geophysical information by the polarimetric-interferometry (Pol-InSAR) technique, a two-layer plus volume model is proposed to represent the sea ice vertical structure and its scattering mechanisms. Furthermore, a simplified version of the model is derived, to allow its inversion with limited a priori knowledge, which is then applied to a topographic retrieval scheme. The model-retrieved performance is validated with the optical DEM of the sea ice topography, showing an excellent performance with root-mean-square error as low as 0.22 m. The experiments are performed across four polarizations: HH, VV, Pauli-1 (HH+VV), and Pauli-2 (HH-VV), indicating the polarization-independent volume scattering property of the sea ice in the investigated co-polarized data.

Lanqing Huang et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-157', Anonymous Referee #1, 03 Aug 2021
  • RC3: 'Comment on tc-2021-157', Anonymous Referee #2, 05 Aug 2021

Lanqing Huang et al.

Lanqing Huang et al.

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Short summary
This study shows an elevation difference between the radar interferometric measurements and the optical measurements from a coordinated campaign over the snow-covered deformed sea ice in the western Weddell Sea, Antarctica. The objective is to correct the penetration bias of microwaves and generate a precise sea ice topographic map, including the snow depth on top. Excellent performance for sea ice topographic retrieval is achieved with the proposed model and the developed retrieval scheme.