The open access paper “Dynamics of the Terra Nova Bay Polynya: The potential of multi-sensor satellite observations”, by Thomas Hollands, Alfred Wegener Institute, and Wolfgang Dierking, Alfred Wegener Institute and CIRFA/UiT, has been published by the journal Remote Sensing of Environment.
Research on processes leading to formation, maintenance, and disappearance of polynyas in the Polar Regions benefits significantly from the use of different types of remote sensing data. The Sentinels of the European Space Agency (ESA), together with other satellite missions, provide a variety of data from different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, at different spatial scales, and with different temporal resolutions. In a case study we demonstrate the advantage of merging data from different spaceborne instruments for analysing ice conditions and ice dynamics in and around the frequently occurring Terra Nova Bay Polynya (TNBP) in the Ross Sea in the Antarctic. Starting with a list of polynya parameters that are typically retrieved from satellite images, we assess the usefulness of different sensor types. On regional scales (several 100 km), passive microwave radiometers provide a view on the mutual influence of the three Ross Sea polynyas on sea ice drift and deformation patterns. Optical sensors with meter-scale resolution, on the other hand, allow very localized analyses of different polynya zones. The combination of different ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum is essential for recognition and classification of ice types and structures. Radar images togetherwith data fromthermal infrared sensors, operated at tens to hundreds of meters resolution, improve the separation of the outlet zone of the polynya fromthe adjacent pack ice. The direct comparison of radar and passive microwave images reveals the visibility of deformed ice zone in the latter. A sequence of radar images was employed to retrieve ice drift around the TNB, which allows analysing the temporal changes of the polynya area and the extension and structure of the outlet zone as well as ice movements and deformation that are influenced by the katabatic winds.