ESSIC / CICS-MD associate research scientist Sinead Farrell was recently quoted in an article on Arctic Today titled, “Scientists are close to losing a critical tool for sea ice research”.
The article describes the current vulnerability of the F-series satellites, a string of microwave radiometer satellites that began construction in the mid-1980s. The lifecycle of each satellite is three to five years, with planned overlapping instruments launched at the first sign of operational wear to ensure a gapless observational record.
Although there are still three F-series units (F-16 – F-18) in operation, the clock is ticking to launch another satellite before the instruments’ sensors fail and data is lost. Congress deactivated a planned replacement F-Series unit (F-20) in 2016, as a money saving measure.
Recently, scientists began looking to the imaging radar Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to bolster sea ice observations. The benefit of SAR includes the ability to observe during cloudy weather and at night, but Farrell noted that fundamental data output differences between F-series units and SAR will likely require further analysis.
In addition to her work at ESSIC and CICS-MD, Sinead Farrell is a visiting scientist at the Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Weather and Climate Prediction (NCWCP), and an affiliate of the Cryospheric Sciences Branch at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). She is also a principal investigator on both the NASA ICESat-2 Science Definition Team and the NASA/NOAA Ocean Surface Topography Science Team.
To read the full article, click here: “Scientists are close to losing a critical tool for sea ice research”.