U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Published in Annals of Glaciology 33 2001.


The United States National Ice Center (NIC) provides weekly ice analyses of the Arctic and Antarctic using information from ice reconnaissance, ship reports and high-resolution satellite imagery. In cloud-covered areas and regions lacking imagery, the higher-resolution sources are augmented by ice concentrations derived from Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSMII) passive-microwave imagery. However, the SSMII-derived ice concentrations are limited by low resolution and uncertainties in thin-ice regions. Ongoing research at NIC is attempting to improve the utility of these SSMII products for operational sea-ice analyses. The refinements of operational algorithms may also aid future scientific studies. Here we discuss an evaluation of the standard operational ice-concentration algorithm, Cal/Val, with a possible alternative, a modified NASA Team algorithm. The modified algorithm compares favorably with CallVal and is a substantial improvement over the standard NASA Team algorithm in thin-ice regions that are of particular interest to operational activities.