Due to their great impact on the environment and society, the study of the ice sheets has become a major concern of the scientific community. In particular, the estimation of the ice attenuation is crucial since it enables a more precise characterization of the ice and basal conditions. Although such problem has been often addressed in the literature, the assessment of the ice attenuation is subject to several hypotheses and uncertainties, resulting in a wide range of possible interpretations of the properties of the ice. In this paper, we propose a method for constraining the ice attenuation profiles in the vicinity of an ice core by jointly using coincident radar sounder (RS) data (radargrams) and dielectric profile (DEP) data. Radargrams contain measurements of radar reflected power from ice subsurface dielectric discontinuities (layers) on wide areas. DEP data contain ice dielectric permittivity measurements collected at an ice core. The method relies on the detection of ice layers in the radargrams, the estimation of their depth and reflectivity from the DEP data, and the use of the radar equation for the estimation of ice attenuation through the whole ice column and locally at each layer position. The method has been applied to RS and DEP data acquired at the NEEM core site in Greenland. Experimental results confirm the effectiveness of the proposed method.
The thickness of Arctic sea ice plays a critical role in Earth's climate and ocean circulation. An accurate measurement of this parameter on synoptic scales at regular intervals would enable characterization of this important component for the understanding of ocean circulation and the global heat balance. Presented in this paper is a low frequency VHF interferometer technique and associated radar instrument design to measure sea ice thickness based on the use of backscatter correlation functions. The sea ice medium is represented as a multi-layered medium consisting of snow, sea-ice and sea water, with the interfaces between layers characterized as rough surfaces. This technique utilizes the correlation of two radar waves of different frequencies and incident and observation angles, scattered from the sea ice medium. The correlation functions relate information about the sea ice thickness. Inversion techniques such as the genetic algorithm, gradient descent, and least square methods, are used to derive sea ice thickness from the phase information related by the correlation functions. The radar instrument is designed to be implemented on a spacecraft and the initial test-bed will be on a Twin Otter aircraft. Radar system and instrument design and development parameters as well as some measurement requirements are reviewed. The ability to obtain reliable phase information for successful ice thickness retrieval for various thickness and surface interface geometries is examined.
A major goal of NASA's Office of Earth Science Polar Program is to determine the mass balance of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. A key variable in assessing the mass balance of an ice sheet is accumulation rate. Currently, accumulation rate is determined from ice cores and pits. There are large uncertainties in existing accumulation rate maps derived from sparely distributed ice cores and pits. There is an urgent need for developing remote sensing techniques for determining the accumulation rate. A prototype Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar system has been developed for mapping internal layers from known volcanic events in the ice. The prototype system has been designed and developed using the latest RF technologies. The system was operated from 100 to 2000 MHz, for imaging the top 200 meters of ice with high resolution. We tested this system during the 1998 and 1999 surface experiments at the North GReenland Ice core Project (NGRIP) ice camp. Our results show that internal layers were successfully mapped with high resolution down to 200 m.