Radar Satellite Observations of Lake Ice Breakup and Freeze-up

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, lake ice, remote sensing, freeze up, ice break-up

Principal Investigator: van der Sanden, Joost J. (1)
Licence Number: 16101
Organization: Natural Resources Canada, Canada Centre for Mapping and Earth Observation
Licenced Year(s): 2017 2012 2010 2009
Issued: Jun 01, 2017
Project Team: J.J. van der Sanden (Research scientist, NRCan/CCMEO), H. Drouin (Research assistant, NRCan/CCMEO)

Objective(s): To evaluate and develop the utility of Canada’s future RADARSAT Constellation Mission (launch 2018) for the monitoring of lake ice breakup and freeze-up.

Project Description: This project aims to evaluate and develop the utility of Canada’s future RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM) (launch 2018) for the monitoring of lake ice breakup and freeze-up. RCM-type radar images will be simulated using data from Canada’s current radar satellite – that is - RADARSAT-2. Validation data in the form of oblique aerial photographs are required to assess the accuracy of the image processing approaches developed and the resulting lake ice on/off information products (maps). Two of the three study areas for the project are located in the Northwest Territories (nearby Inuvik and Yellowknife, respectively). The third area of interest is located in Ontario (Experimental Lakes Area).

This research involves the acquisition of RADARSAT-2 images over selected lakes nearby Inuvik and Yellowknife, the conversion of these images to RCM-type images, the generation of lake ice on/off information products, and the validation of these products with the help of aerial photographs. The required aerial photography, both during the spring and fall period, will be contracted out to local organisations.

Aerial reconnaissance to document the breakup and freeze-up of lakes by means of oblique photographs is an essential part of this project.

This project will yield a practical application that has the potential to support decision making by Canadians. For example, decisions regarding the use of the ice cover on lakes for travel to fishing/hunting grounds. It is anticipated, that images from Canada’s upcoming RADARSAT Constellation Mission (launch 2018; focus of this project) will be available free of charge to all Canadians. Furthermore, this project may strengthen the ‘social/cultural license’ for the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, by demonstrating the utility of the data received for collecting information about the northern landscape.

The results of the project will be published in journals subscribed to by most libraries. Following publication of results, selected lake ice on/off information products will be made publicly available through GEOGRATIS or the CCRS website. When in Inuvik, the team will make an effort to be available to meet with or give a presentation to interested community members. In addition, results are anticipated to be presented at the Yellowknife Geoscience Forum. A factsheet describing the overall nature of the project is available on the NRCan/CCRS website (http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/earth-sciences/permafrost-ice-snow/lake-river-ice/9164).

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 1, 2017 to December 30, 2017.