Using CReSIS Radar Data to Determine Ice Thickness

Using CReSIS Radar Data to Determine Ice Thickness

Using CReSIS Radar Data to Determine Ice Thickness and Surface Elevation at Pine Island Glacier
Team Members: Nyema Barmore (ECSU), Glenn Michael Koch (ECSU)
Abstract
The Pine Island Glacier region of Antarctica is an area under intense
scrutiny because of its sensitivity to climate change. Pine Island
Glacier is located in Western Antarctica and drains a large portion
of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. It has shown to be particularly
vulnerable to glacial ablation [1]. The 2012 Research Experience for
Undergraduates (REU), Ocean Marine Polar Science (OMPS), Penn
State Team analyzed CReSIS radar data to identify the ice-surface
and ice-bottom features. From this, both elevation and ice
thickness at Pine Island Glacier were determined. The team utilized
MATLAB along with an add-on picker program; The Penn State
Environment for Seismic Processing (PSESP), developed at
Pennsylvania State University. MATLAB is a programming
environment that analyzes data as well as many other technical
processing applications. With the picker program the team selected
specific, maximum-strength radar peaks on individual radar traces
and applied a formula to compute the distance traveled by the
signal. The difference between the distance traveled from the
surface and bottom features was calculated to produce an ice
thickness map. The team results will provide data that will aid in
modeling of the Pine Island Glacier.

Mentor: Dr. Sridar Anandakrishnan (PSU), Peter Burkett (PSU )

Methodology
The first step in the data analysis was to load the data set
to be analyzed into the PSESP.

Ice Calculation

250

Ice Thickness Calculation:
[(((Bottom horizon surface horizon) /10)/2)*170m/uS]

200

150

Pine Island Bay
(100 West Longitude - 112 West
Longitude)

Step 1: Take the Picker difference value of time between the
bottom and surface horizon.
Step 2: Divide by 10. This converts it from "samples" to real time
(in micro seconds).

100

50

0

Step 3:Divide that time by 2. This converts the "two way" travel
time (going from the plane to the bottom of the ice and back to
plane) into a one way travel time (from the plane to the bottom of
the ice).

Study Area

Loaded data displayed as a 400 trace data panel

Automatic pick by PSESP

Step 4: Multiply that number by 170 (which converts time to
distance because radar waves travel at 170 meters/uS in ice).

0

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

1400

1600

1800

Plotted bottom and top surface
Conclusion
Analysis provided numerical elevation
data from CReSIS radar data sets that
could be plotted and compared to
echogram images
Data plots did correlate to echogram
snapshot images
Data plots provided a reliable source to
perform ice thickness calculations
FUTURE WORKS
With the completed calculations of Pine
Island Glacier ice thickness, a 3D model
of the glacier can be created. The 3D
model may be used in several different
ways to improve upon the study of the
glacier. One way the model may be used
is to compare present day and future ice
sheet thickness.

Plotted bottom surface

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The team would like to acknowledge Dr. Linda B. Hayden,
Dr. Sridar Anandakrishnan, and Mr. Peter Burkett for the
guidance provided during the period of this research.

Flight Path With Single Pass Highlighted

REFERENCES

Manually picked panel

Echogram
Plotted bottom surface

[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]

Paterson, Cuffey, "The Physics of Glaciers".
N. S. a. I. D. Center, "All About Glaciers," [Online]. Available: http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glaciers/questions/what.html. [Accessed 2 July 2012
"Eccyclopedia.com," [Online]. Available: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O13-calving.html. [Accessed 2 July 2012].
Research.gov, "Multi-Radar Mapping of Polar Ice," [Online]. Available: http://www.research.gov/research-portal/appmanager/base/desktop. [Accessed 2 July 2012
"Merriam-Webster.com," [Online]. Available: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/radar. [Accessed 9 July 2012].
"Molecular Expressions," [Online]. Available: http://www.micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/speedoflight/index.html. [Accessed 9 July 2012].

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