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Antony K. Liu, Seelye Martin, and Ronald Kwok

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the use of wavelet transforms in the tracking of sequential ice features in the ERS-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, especially in situations where feature correlation techniques fail to yield reasonable results. Examples include the evolution of the St. Lawrence polynya and summer sea ice change in the Beaufort Sea. For the polynya, the evolution of the region of young ice growth surrounding a polynya can be easily tracked by wavelet analysis due to the large backscatter difference between the young and old ice. Also within the polynya, a 2D fast Fourier transform (FFT) is used to identify the extent of the Langmuir circulation region, which is coincident with the wave-agitated frazil ice growth region, where the sea ice experiences its fastest growth. Therefore, the combination of wavelet and FFT analysis of SAR images provides for the large-scale monitoring of different polynya features. For summer ice, previous work shows that this is the most difficult period for ice trackers due to the lack of features on the sea ice cover. The multiscale wavelet analysis shows that this method delineates the detailed floe shapes during this period, so that between consecutive images, the floe translation and rotation can be estimated.

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