Measuring the Area of Antarctic Polynyas with Cosmo-SkyMed SAR-X Images
Parmiggiani, Flavio1; Moctezuma Flores, Miguel2; Lopez Lopez, Ludwin2

Coastal polynyas are areas of ''open water'' which form near the coast of polar regions where one expects the waters to be ice covered. Polynyas have been subject of great scientific interest as they operate like 'ice factories' and contribute to a large extent to new ice formation. One of the most important coastal polynyas around Antarctica is Terra Nova Bay (TNB) polynya.

The images of the new Cosmo-SkyMed (CSK) satellite constellation have proved to be a perfect tool to study polynya extent dynamics. To obtain an automatic measure of polynya area as observed by CSK SAR-X images, a processing scheme, based on anisotropic diffusion filtering and on Markov Random Fields, was developed. The processing scheme was tested with two CSK SAR-X images captured during the TNB polynya events of September 10 and 26, 2009.

The good correspondence between the polynya extent as obtained by the automatic method and as clearly identified by visual inspection, confirms the soundness of the proposed processing scheme.