THE CEOS DATABASE : Missions, Instruments and Measurements
CEOS EO HANDBOOK – MEASUREMENTS
Measurements > Snow and Ice >
Sea ice cover, edge and thickness


Sea ice variability is a key indicator of climate variability and change which is characterised by a number of parameters. In addition to monitoring ice extent (the total area covered by ice at any concentration) and concentration (the area covered by ice per unit area of ocean), it is necessary to know ice thickness in order to estimate sea ice volume or mass balance.
Detailed MeasurementDescription*InstrumentsTimeline
Glacier area2D vector outlines of glaciers and ice caps (delineating glacier area)0 instruments
Glacier coverFraction of an area covered by permanent ice - Physical unit: [ % ] - Accuracy unit: [ % ].16 instruments
Glacier motionVariation of glacier boundary in a specific direction. [Unit of measurement -m/y]10 instruments
Iceberg fractional coverFraction of the ground area covered by icebergs. [Unit of measurement - %]8 instruments
Iceberg heightVertical projection of an area covered by icebergs. [Unit of measurement - m]3 instruments
Sea-ice concentration-0 instruments
Sea-ice coverFraction of ice in an ocean area - Physical unit: [ % ] - Accuracy unit: [ % ].57 instruments
Sea-ice drift-0 instruments
Sea-ice surface temperatureTemperature of the surface of sea-ice - Physical unit: [ K ] - Accuracy unit: [ K ].10 instruments
Sea-ice thicknessThickness of the ice sheet connected with surface height and ice density - Physical unit: [ cm ] - Accuracy unit: [ cm ].12 instruments
Sea-ice typeParameter convolving several factors (age, roughness, density, etc.) - Accuracy expressed as number of classes. Actually [ classes-1 ] is used, so that smaller figure corresponds to better performance, as usual.19 instruments
* Description adapted from WMO.
Copyright CEOS | About | Site Search Researched and written by Symbios