CORES Science & Engineering


AKROSS: Altimetric Ku-Band Radar Observations Simulated with SMRT

Dominguez, R. 2010, updated 2018. IceBridge DMS L1B Geolocated and Orthorectified Images, Version 1. [IceBridge DMS L1B Geolocated and Orthorectified Images V001]. Boulder, Colorado USA. NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: [Date Accessed: 31/07/2020].

Accurate estimates of sea ice thickness are essential for numerical weather prediction, ice extent forecasts for navigability and to demonstrate the impacts of climate change on sea ice. The main source of uncertainty in sea ice thickness measurements from radar altimetry is due to snow. Scattering of the radar signal as it travels through snow changes the return received by the altimeter. AKROSS will determine how snow properties affect the radar return and therefore the accuracy of sea ice thickness estimates.

AKROSS has three main objectives:

  1. Collection of a suite of field observations of the properties of snow on sea ice suitable for evaluation of electromagnetic models across a range of different satellites, with a focus on radar altimetry.
  2. Evaluation and consolidation of the Snow Microwave Radiative Transfer Model in altimeter mode.
  3. Investigate origin of signal returns through analysis of the dependence of the altimeter waveform to snowpack structure.

The field campaign will take place in Eureka, Canada, timed to coincide with CryoSat2 and ICESat2 satellite overpasses. Snow measurements will include specific surface area, density, layer boundary roughness and casted samples for x-ray tomography imaging. AKROSS will complement and co-ordinate with other activities including studies for the Copernicus Polar Ice and Snow Topography Altimeter (CRISTAL) candidate mission.