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On the retrieval of sea-ice thickness using SMOS polarization differences



Arctic sea ice is going through a dramatic change in its extent and volume at an unprecedented rate. Sea-ice thickness (SIT) is a controlling geophysical variable that needs to be understood with greater accuracy. For the first time, a SIT-retrieval method that exclusively uses only airborne SIT data for training the empirical algorithm to retrieve SIT from Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) brightness temperature (TB) at different polarization is presented. A large amount of airborne SIT data has been used from various field campaigns in the Arctic conducted by different countries during 2011–15. The algorithm attempts to circumvent the issue related to discrimination between TB signatures of thin SIT versus low sea-ice concentration. The computed SIT has a rms error of 0.10 m, which seems reasonably good (as compared to the existing algorithms) for analysis at the used 25 km grid. This new SIT retrieval product is designed for direct operational application in ice prediction/climate models.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Correspondence: Mukesh Gupta <>


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