Global processes are strongly linked by atmospheric and oceanographic circulation. Consequently all regions on Earth will experience changes in weather and climate when predicted changes in extent and thickness of Antarctic sea ice take place. Both the thickness and extent of the sea ice are important quantities. Sea ice moderates atmospheric temperature changes by 'locking up' energy as it freezes and by reflecting incident radiation because of its high albedo. In spite of its importance, sea ice thickness in the Southern Ocean cannot be reliably measured from satellite. Satellite-derived sea ice thickness relies on knowledge of the relationship between sea ice thickness and freeboard, the latter being measured by satellite altimeter. It is this relationship that is poorly known around Antarctica. Thus the remote estimation of sea ice thickness is one of the foremost challenges in global environmental science. The programme makes use of the techniques developed by Christian Haas and colleagues on the helicopter-mounted electromagnetic induction measurement (HEM bird) of sea ice thickness. Satellite data are received from the European Space Agency within the related CryoSat-2 Calibration and Validation program (project AOCRY2CAL 4512 Validating Cryosat measurements on land and sea ice in the western Ross Sea Region, Antarctica).

Wolfgang Rack

Associate Professor
Fields of Research:
- Mass balance of glaciers, ice sheets, and sea ice
- Ice Shelf - Ocean - Sea Ice ...