Mapping Arctic Bottomfast Sea Ice Using SAR Interferometry

Christopher Stevens
Monday, May 7, 2018
First presented: 
MDPI Remote Sensing Journal
Published paper
Bottomfast sea ice is an integral part of many near-coastal Arctic ecosystems with implications for subsea permafrost, coastal stability and morphology. Bottomfast sea ice is also of great relevance to over-ice travel by coastal communities, industrial ice roads, and marine habitats. There are currently large uncertainties around where and how much bottomfast ice is present in the Arctic due to the lack of effective approaches for detecting bottomfast sea ice on large spatial scales. Here, we suggest a robust method capable of detecting bottomfast sea ice using spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry. This approach is used to discriminate between slowly deforming floating ice and completely stationary bottomfast ice based on the interferometric phase. We validate the approach over freshwater ice in the Mackenzie Delta, Canada, and over sea ice in the Colville Delta and Elson Lagoon, Alaska. For these areas, bottomfast ice, as interpreted from the interferometric phase, shows high correlation with local bathymetry and in-situ ice auger and ground penetrating radar measurements. The technique is further used to track the seasonal evolution of bottomfast ice in the Kasegaluk Lagoon, Alaska, by identifying freeze-up progression and areas of liquid water throughout winter.

Feature Author

Dr. Christopher Stevens
Christopher Stevens, PhD., is a geocryologist who specializes in permafrost and cold regions work. He has 8 years of project and research experience in both terrestrial and subsea permafrost, for mining, highway infrastructure, utility corridors, and oil and gas projects in USA and Canada. His experience includes thermal analysis, terrain and climate analysis, permafrost and ground ice characterization, talik delineation, permafrost-groundwater interactions, design and implementation of permafrost monitoring programs, and numerical thermal modeling to assess thermal performance of infrastructure and potential impacts to the environment. His experience also extends to the design and evaluation of permafrost mitigation techniques used to achieve infrastructure and site stabilization in areas with ice-rich permafrost, including passive thermosyphons, active ground freezing, air convection, and thermal covers. Christopher has developed several novel satellite and ground-based geophysical applications for mapping degrading permafrost conditions and characterizing related environmental changes.
Geocryology and Cold Regions Specialist
PhD. Geology and Geophysics
SRK Alaska
SRK North America