Estimating instantaneous sea-ice dynamics from space using the bi-static radar measurements of Earth Explorer 10 candidate Harmony

Marcel Kleinherenbrink*, Anton Korosov, Thomas Newman, Andreas Theodosiou, Alexander S. Komarov, Yuanhao Li, Gert Mulder, Pierre Rampal, Julienne Stroeve, Paco Lopez-Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
40 Downloads (Pure)


This article describes the observation techniques and suggests processing methods to estimate dynamical sea-ice parameters from data of the Earth Explorer 10 candidate Harmony. The two Harmony satellites will fly in a reconfigurable formation with Sentinel-1D. Both will be equipped with a multi-angle thermal infrared sensor and a passive radar receiver, which receives the reflected Sentinel-1D signals using two antennas. During the lifetime of the mission, two different formations will be flown. In the stereo formation, the Harmony satellites will fly approximately 300km in front and behind Sentinel-1, which allows for the estimation of instantaneous sea-ice drift vectors. We demonstrate that the addition of instantaneous sea-ice drift estimates on top of the daily integrated values from feature tracking have benefits in terms of interpretation, sampling and resolution. The wide-swath instantaneous drift observations of Harmony also help to put high-temporal-resolution instantaneous buoy observations into a spatial context. Additionally, it allows for the extraction of deformation parameters, such as shear and divergence. As a result, Harmony's data will help to improve sea-ice statistics and parametrizations to constrain sea-ice models. In the cross-track interferometry (XTI) mode, Harmony's satellites will fly in close formation with an XTI baseline to be able to estimate surface elevations. This will allow for improved estimates of sea-ice volume and also enables the retrieval of full, two-dimensional swell-wave spectra in sea-ice-covered regions without any gaps. In stereo formation, the line-of-sight diversity allows the inference of swell properties in both directions using traditional velocity bunching approaches. In XTI mode, Harmony's phase differences are only sensitive to the ground-range direction swell. To fully recover two-dimensional swell-wave spectra, a synergy between XTI height spectra and intensity spectra is required. If selected, the Harmony mission will be launched in 2028.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3101-3118
Number of pages18
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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