Peering into ice sheets: the use of AWI’s new radar magnifying glass

Olaf.Eisen [ at ]


The large Ice sheets, Greenland and Antartica, are two key players for understanding the future effects of climate change when it comes to sea level rise. A considerable uncertainty is their dynamic response to changing boundary conditions, e.g. increased melting at the surface percolating to their base or warmer ocean water temperatures underneath ice shelves. To decipher ongoing processes and reveal their development, glaciologists often turn to the observation of internal structures in and basal conditions of ice sheets using radio-echo sounding (RES) techniques. Over the last twenty years the radar techniques employed for these observation have seen a considerable improvement, such that today’s ice-penetrating radar has little in common with the former RES techniques, where data were still stored on photographic films. The newest of such systems, in operation since 2016, is AWI’s ultrawideband radar <> , operating in the radio (150-600 MHz) and microwave frequency range, an advancement from the original MCoRDS/I system developed by the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS). With 24 elements in use for the AWI UWB, the lateral and vertical resolution for imaging the interior of ice sheets at kilometers depth has been brought to the range of the sub-meter scale. This talk introduces the scientific objectives motivating the development of this system, presents its technical aspects, including data recording and processing, and finally shows first results from the last Greenland and Antarctic field seasons.

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Conference (Invited talk)
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Kolloquium DLR Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik und Radarsysteme.
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Eisen, O. , Binder, T. , Helm, V. , Humbert, A. , Jansen, D. , Steinhage, D. and Miller, H. (2017): Peering into ice sheets: the use of AWI’s new radar magnifying glass , Kolloquium DLR Institut für Hochfrequenztechnik und Radarsysteme .

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