Arctic sea ice 2011-2013: variability of ice concentration and thickness from new satellite data

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Information on the sea ice is important both for weather forecasting and climate research as well as for the safe and economical navigation on the increasingly accessible shipping routes in the Arctic. Satellite-based microwave radiometers provide the most important data quickly and comprehensively, regardless of cloud cover, and also during the long polar night.

Data from the satellite SMOS of the European Space Agency ESA can be used to determine the thickness of sea ice. The sea ice coverage (concentration) was determined from data measured with the satellite sensor SSMIS (Special Sensor Microwave Image Sounder). The determination of ice thickness with SMOS is feasible only if the ice is relatively thin and very cold, which limits this application to the winter months.