Improvement of radar ice-thickness measurements of Greenland outlet glaciers using SAR processing


Publication Type:

Journal Article


Annals of GlaciologyAnnals of Glaciology, Volume 35, p.73-78 (2002)




Extensive aircraft-based radar ice-thickness measurements over the interior and outlet-glacier regions of the Greenland ice sheet have been obtained by the University of Kansas since 1993, with the latest airborne surveys conducted in May 2001. The radar has evolved during this period to a highly versatile system capable of characterizing ice thickness over a wide variety of ice-sheet conditions. Before 1997, the digital system was limited, only capable of storing incoherent data or coherent data with a very large number of presumed signals at a low pulse-repetition frequency. In 1998, the radar was upgraded with modern components allowing coherent data to be stored with a small number of presumed returns for 1024 range cells at a high pulse-repetition frequency. The new data on ice thickness of Greenland outlet glaciers are archived and made available to the scientific community in the form of radar echograms and derived ice thickness at The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) also provides a link to these data, and NSIDC will eventually serve as the permanent archive of these data. Improvements in radar sensitivity in outlet-glacier regions have been achieved by collecting coherent radar data and applying various signal-processing techniques. Deep outlet-glacier channels that were previously unresolved with incoherent data can now be mapped using a coherent signal, signal conditioning and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) processing.


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