Imaging subglacial topography by a synthetic aperture radar technique

A synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technique has been used to image part of the grounding-line region of Bach Ice Shelf in the Antarctic Peninsula. The radar was sledge-mounted and operated in a pulsed mode with a carrier frequency of 120 MHz. The coherently detected output was recorded photographically as in-phase and quadrature components. Because the system was essentially stationary for each measurement, there was no doppler information about the reflecting points as in the more commonly used airborne and satellite-based SARs. Instead, the phase history was used directly to identify point targets by a correlation method. Three sounding runs were carried out over the grounding line to give views of the area from separate directions. An aperture length of 104 m was necessary to achieve 8 m resolution in the along-track direction for an ice thickness of 290 m. The mapped swath was 88 m wide. Corrections to the data were made to allow for density variations and absorption in the ice. The back-scatter coefficient showed greater variations in echo strength over grounded ice compared with floating ice and texture analysis of the radar image revealed a statistically significant difference between these two regimes.


Publication status:
Authors: Musil, G.J., Doake, C.S.M.

1 January, 1987
Annals of Glaciology / 9
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