I am a self-taught amateur on remote sensing, but it tickled my pride when a friend at NASA asked me, if I could tell a friend of his at NOAA on how I got my hands on data to produce maps of radar backscatter to describe how the sea ice near Thule Air Base, Greenland changes in time and space.
In about 4 weeks from today I will be working along a line near the red dots A, B, and C which are tentative locations to place ocean sensors below the sea ice after drilling through it with ice fishing gear. The colored line is the bottom depth as it was measured by the USCG Healy in 2003 when I was in Thule for the first time. Faint bottom contours are shown in gray.
I discovered the 20-m Sentinel-1 SAR-C data only 3 weeks ago. They are accessible to me (after making an account) via
where I then search for a specific geographic area and time frame using the following “product”
Product Type: GRD
Sensor Mode: IW
The more technical detail can be found at
where one also finds wonderful instructional videos on how to work the software.
The data file(s) for a typical scene are usually ~800 MB, however, for processing I use the free SNAP software (provided by European Space Agency) via a sequence of steps that result in a geotiff file of about 7 MB.This .tiff file I then read with Fortran codes to tailor my own (quantitative or analyses) purposes.
The final mapping is done with GMT – General Mapping Tools which I use for almost all my scientific graphing, mapping, and publications.
Please note that I am neither a remote sensing nor a sea-ice expert, but consider myself an observational physical oceanographer who loves his Unix on a MacBook Pro.If only my next problem, working in polar bear country with guns for protection, had as easy a solution.