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Radar Sounder Data Analysis

Making creative use of radar sounding data to observe the physical processes of glaciers and ice sheets.

Radio echo sounding is a uniquely powerful geophysical technique for studying the interior of ice sheets, glaciers, and icy planetary bodies. It can provide broad coverage and deep penetration as well as interpretable ice thickness, basal topography, and englacial radio stratigraphy. However, despite the long tradition of glaciological interpretation of radar images, quantitative analyses of radar sounding data are rare and face several technical challenges. These include attenuation uncertainty from unknown ice temperature and chemistry, clutter and losses from surface and volume scattering, and a lack of problem-specific radar analysis approaches. However, there is rich, often underexploited, information in modern radar sounding data, which is being collected over terrestrial and planetary ice at an unprecedented rate. This combination of a growing data set with a relatively underdeveloped theoretical literature makes radar sounding a particularly exciting and rewarding area in which to work. Our recent work in this area focuses on developing techniques that model and exploit information in the along-track radar echo character to detect and characterize subglacial water, englacial layers, bedforms, and grounding zones. We are building on these projects, developing techniques for a wider range of processing parameters, data sources, and glaciological targets.

Related Projects

  • TIME: Thwaites Interdisciplinary Margin Evolution 
  • Joint radar and model investigations of Greenland basal water conditions
  • Technique development for improved grounding zone characterization using airborne radar sounding
  • Radar sounding and propagation through heterogeneous media
  • ICECAP: Investigating the Cryospheric Evolution of the Central Antarctic Plate

Related Publications