Sea ice is a key indicator of environmental change and is also a force to be reckoned with for humans navigating, drilling, or fishing in polar waters. At the northern end of the planet, where the Arctic’s oceans are largely constrained within landmasses — and the impact of climate change is more dramatic than anywhere else — sea ice serves as a particularly significant laboratory for monitoring our changing planet.
The data and imagery available from the Alaska Satellite Facility cover a period from 1995 to 2011. They include more than 11 years of near-uninterrupted, three-day radar snapshots of Arctic Ocean sea ice as it goes through dramatic change. Users may access:
- A dataset of small-scale kinematics and deformation processed by tracking sea ice on a high-resolution grid.
- The original synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images.
This dataset has already contributed significantly to sea-ice science in:
- new approaches for modeling the mechanical behavior of sea ice and the validation of these models;
- characterization of sub-daily ice motion;
- description of the seasonal and regional variability of sea-ice deformation;
- validation of ICESat freeboard algorithms; and
- estimates of sea-ice exchange between the Arctic Ocean and peripheral seas.