• Bokmål
  • English




Detection and quantification of thin sea ice for climate monitoring in the Arctic

Sea ice plays an important role in the climatic system, being a factor affecting the global energy budget as well as the oceanic circulation. It is also an indicator variable of climate change. Considering various types of sea ice, thin ice is of particular interest as it is most vulnerable to summer sea ice melt, and it allows for more heat transfer.

Earth observation methods for retrieval of sea ice concentration are accurate and well validated for multi-year ice and consolidated first-year ice, but are less reliable and accurate for the youngest stages of sea ice development. Standard passive microwave algorithms for sea ice concentration, for instance, tend to confuse thin ice with a mixture of thick ice and open water. Algorithms making use of other types of sensors for observing young, seasonal sea ice are therefore valuable.

In the ThinIce project we aim to develop an automatic processing chain for estimating thin sea ice thickness, using optical data from the MODIS sensor, and atmosphere data from the ERA project. The algorithm is based on the works of Yu and Rothrock (1996), in which a model of the heat balance of the ice surface is used to establish the relation between ice thickness and other parameters (in particular surface temperature). A number of empirical models are employed to describe the thermal processes on the ice surface.

Research areas

Project period



Norwegian Space Centre

Norsk Regnesentral
Postboks 114 Blindern
0314 Oslo
Norsk Regnesentral
Gaustadalleen 23a
Kristen Nygaards hus
0373 Oslo
(+47) 22 85 25 00
Adresse Hvordan komme til NR
Sosiale media Del på sosiale media
Personvernerklæring Personvernerklæring
Postadresse: Norsk Regnesentral, Postboks 114 Blindern, 0314 Oslo
Besøksadresse: Norsk Regnesentral, Gaustadalleen 23a, Kristen Nygaards hus, 0373 Oslo
Tlf: (+47) 22 85 25 00
AdresseHvordan komme til NR