Estimation of snow thickness on sea ice and lake ice using airborne snowsar data

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


  • Katriina Veijola
  • Marko Mäkynen
  • Juha Lemmetyinen
  • Jaan Praks

Research units

  • Finnish Meteorological Institute


Currently, snow thickness on sea ice is operationally estimated using microwave radiometer data. However, the estimates are hampered by the inherent coarse spatial resolution of passive microwave sensors. Successful application of SAR imagery for snow thickness estimation has the potential of providing estimates of snow thickness with much finer spatial resolution. In this study, we concentrate on assessing the capability of X- and Ku-band SAR backscattering to estimate snow thickness on sea and lake ice. Co- and cross -polarized X- and Ku-band SAR backscattering data, acquired with the ESA airborne SnowSAR sensor, are applied. The SAR data acquisition and co-incident in-situ measurements were conducted in Finland in the winter of 2012 over sea ice and lake ice test sites. Our analysis shows which frequency and polarization combinations have best sensitivity to snow thickness on sea and lake ice and in deep discussion provides plausible ways to improve the results.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ESA Living Planet Symposium 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventLiving Planet Symposium - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 9 May 201613 May 2016


ConferenceLiving Planet Symposium
CountryCzech Republic

ID: 9157667