Side-looking radar images of Arctic sea ice were obtained as part of the Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experiment. Repetitive coverages of a test site in the Arctic were used to measure sea ice drift, employing single images and blocks of overlapping radar image strips; the images were used in conjunction with data from the aircraft inertial navigation and altimeter. Also, independently measured, accurate positions of a number of ground control points were available. Initial tests of the method were carried out with repeated coverages of a land area on the Alaska coast (Prudhoe). Absolute accuracies achieved were essentially limited by the accuracy of the inertial navigation data. Errors of drift measurements were found to be about ±2.5 km. Relative accuracy is higher; its limits are set by the radar image geometry and the definition of identical features in sequential images. The drift of adjacent ice features with respect to one another could be determined with errors of less than ±0.2 km.
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