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Antarctic Sea-Ice Melt Detection

QuikSCAT h-pol slice images are analyzed to determine the onset and duration of melting in the Antarctic. Daily Sigma-0 measurements for each image pixel are compared to the respective previous winter's mean Sigma-0 value. Each measurement falling at least 3dB below this mean is counted as one day of melt. The total number of melt days are recorded for the austral summers of 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. The onset of melting for each pixel is simply the date of the first measurement denoting a melt event, while the final melt date is the last recorded melt event of the year. Melt days over open ocean are exaggerated since as the ice edge retreats each pixel previously representing sea-ice now resides over open ocean and accumulates melt days as the summer season progresses.
Caution: Estimates over some land areas are affected by noise from the azimuth modulation of Sigma-O.

Austral Summer Melt Day Totals
 

JD 265 1999 to JD 149 2000  Full Image 2000 JD 149
Data Time-series (4.5 MB)

JD 265 2000 to JD 149 2001  Full Image 2001 JD 149
Data Time-series (4.5 MB)

JD 265 2001 to JD 148 2002  Full Image 2002 JD 149
Data Time-series (4.5 MB)

 

Dates of Melt Onset
 

JD 265 1999 to JD 149 2000  Full Image

JD 265 2000 to JD 149 2001  Full Image

JD 265 2001 to JD 149 2002  Full Image

 

Dates of Final Summer Melt Events
 

JD 265 1999 to JD 149 2000  Full Image

JD 265 2000 to JD 149 2001  Full Image

JD 265 2001 to JD 149 2002  Full Image