Physics Department Seminar University of Alaska Fairbanks

J O U R N A L    C L U B


Applications of Radar in Glaciology

David Polashenski ,
Geophysical Institute Glaciers Group, UAF



A wide variety of radar systems and methodologies can be applied to glaciological studies on innumerable topics. Three broad categories of radar techniques include ground-based radio-echo sounding systems, airborne radar systems, and spacecraft equipped with active micro-wave sensors. Here, the physics and applications of ground-based radar systems will be discussed in depth. The basic geometry of a ground penetrating radar, the dielectric permittivity of ice, and the attenuation of radar signals all significantly impact how radar data are interpreted in glaciological studies. After discussing the implications of these topics, we will explore several case studies which utilize ground-based radar datasets to study a range of glacial systems. These include a study on ice fabric anisotropy in West Antarctica, the selection of an ice core drilling site in the Alaska range based upon radar-derived ice stratigraphy, and a radar survey of ice depth on a Canadian alpine glacier. Ultimately, ground penetrating radar provides glaciologists with a remote sensing tool which provides critical datasets that could not otherwise be acquired. Given that our modern understanding of glacial flow dynamics and paleoclimate would not be possible without these data, it is difficult to overstate the importance of these radar systems and acquisition techniques.


Friday, 26 April 2019

Globe Room, Elvey Building