Earth Observation and Modelling

Development of a pre-operational application for monitoring melt ponds in Arctic sea ice using Sentinel-2 MSI and EnMAP data (ArcticSense)

The Arctic sea ice is an essential climate variable that is dramatically affected by climate change. The main characteristics of sea ice to affect the components of the climate system are the prevention or reduction in the exchange of heat, momentum or water vapour between the atmosphere and ocean and its much higher surface albedo than that of the open ocean. Melt ponds are a main driver of the so-called ice-albedo-feedback mechanism and affect the mass and heat balance of sea ice. Observations of pond evolution can be linked to observations of sea ice, ocean and atmosphere, for validation of ice and climate models and future sea ice prediction. In the context of climate change it is therefore important to increase our understanding of how melt ponds on sea ice change.

The limited accessibility of the Arctic sea ice makes satellite remote sensing an important tool for synoptic observations in this region. Nowadays, passive and active microwave sensors are already well established in sea ice research. The aim of ArcticSense, however, is to establish the use of high-resolution optical data for a monitoring of bio-physical characteristics of melt ponds (extend, bottom relief, bathymetry). The target sensors are multispectral Sentinel-2 MSI and Landsat 8 OLI data.


Funding agency:      Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the German Aerospace Center

Time period:             10/2019 - 09/2022

Coordination:           Prof. N. Oppelt

Project staff:            Felix Linhardt

Project partner:        Dr. T. Heege, EOMAP GmbH



Link: EnMAP Webpage