Satellite remote sensing technology plays an important role in ice monitoring and characterization in support of ice management operations for Arctic floating drilling that previously have been described by industry to include three stages: (1) far-field reconnaissance for potentially unmanageable ice features (2) mid-field verification of ice breakability and (3) near-field ice floe size reduction.
The paper discusses the application of satellite remote sensing methods for identification of Potentially Unmanageable Ice Features (PUIF) as well as challenges associated with satellite data interpretation and feature tracking. Examples of PUIF identification using both publicly and commercially available satellite imagery and other remote sensing data collected during the Oden Arctic Technology Research Cruise 2015 (OATRC 2015) are presented and the challenges with the PUIF detection and monitoring are discussed.
In addition, airborne remote sensing systems for PUIF identification, both existing (such as Electromagnetic Induction (EMI)) and under development (such as dual frequency radar, multi-band synthetic aperture radar), are discussed and their capabilities contrasted and compared to satellite-based methods. Furthermore, potential ways of optimally combining airborne and satellite remote sensing are proposed.