Sea Ice Deformation State From Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery - Part II: Effects of Spatial Resolution and Noise Level

Wolfgang Dierking, Jørgen Dall

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C- and L-band airborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery acquired at like- and cross-polarization over sea ice under winter conditions is examined with the objective to study the discrimination between level ice and ice deformation features. High-resolution low-noise data were analysed in the first paper. In this second paper, the main topics are the effects of spatial resolution and signal-to-noise ratio. Airborne, high-resolution SAR scenes are used to generate a sequence of images with increasingly coarser spatial resolution from 5 m to 25 m, keeping the number of looks constant. The signal-to-noise ratio is varied between typical noise levels for airborne imagery and satellite data. Areal fraction of deformed ice and average deformation distance are determined for each image product. At L-band, the retrieved values of the areal fraction get larger as the image resolution is degraded. The areal fraction at C-band remains constant. The retrieved average distance between deformation features increases both at C- and L-bands, as the image resolution gets coarser. The influence of noise becomes noticeable if its level is equal or larger than the average intensity backscattered from the level ice. The retrieval of deformation parameters using simulated images that resemble ERS-2 SAR, Envisat ASAR and ALOS PALSAR data products is discussed. Basic differences between real and simulated ERS-2 SAR images are analyzed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)2197-2207
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Sea ice
  • Image classification
  • Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)

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