Digitally processed Seasat synthetic aperture radar images from the Beaufort Sea, recorded during August 1978, were analyzed to determine ice-floe displacements and floe-size distributions. Combining data on displacements with those on floe area and thickness yields floe kinetic energies which can then be used as input into design criteria for offshore Arctic structures. Floe-size distributions are needed to determine probabilistically the “design” mass of Ice for an offshore structure.
Vectors of floe movement show the influence of surrounding floes and the compactness of the ice. Floes nearer to more open water showed more movement in the prevailing wind direction while floe movement within the ice pack was primarily affected by floe interaction.
Different cutoff criteria in terms of number of resolution cell sizes were applied to the data on floe size. It was found that the numbers of floes dropped by up to 50% of the original count at ten resolution cells (250 m). Exponential and log-normal probability distributions were fitted to the original counts of floe size. The log-normal fit was better but this is based on one dataset at one time of year in one location. More datasets need to be analyzed to investigate this further. If a probability distribution to floe size can be generalized then only a subset of all the floes would need to be analyzed to determine numbers of floes in each size range. This would greatly speed up a tedious task and be beneficial for design and operational purposes.