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TitlePotential of RADARSAT-1 for the monitoring of river ice: Results of a case study on the Athabasca River at Fort McMurray, Canada
AuthorUnterschultz, K D; van der Sanden, JORCID logo; Hicks, F E
SourceCold Regions Science and Technology vol. 55, no. 2, 2009 p. 238-248,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20181430
PublisherElsevier BV
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Subjectsgeophysics; remote sensing
ProgramCanada Centre for Remote Sensing Divsion
Released2009 02 01
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to investigate the viability of using RADARSAT-1 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite images to characterize river ice during winter and breakup. While the use of satellite SAR is becoming increasingly accepted as an effective monitoring tool, its uses are still under development and there are limitations which must be recognized. In addition to logistical constraints such as frequency of acquisition, the actual interpretation of imagery is complicated by a number of factors, since the radar return is influenced by properties of the target (ice), sensor characteristics and geometric considerations. These factors are summarized and illustrated through a discussion of imagery obtained on the Athabasca River, Alberta (AB), Canada during winter and spring breakup in 2003 and 2004. Based on this investigation, SAR shows excellent potential for identifying ice jams, intact ice and open water during breakup. However, it appears that further investigation and specifically in situ river ice characterization in coordination with SAR data acquisition, will be needed before ice thickness may be determined from SAR imagery

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