Towards Bedmap Himalayas: development of an airborne ice-sounding radar for glacier thickness surveys in High-Mountain Asia
The thickness of glaciers in High-Mountain Asia (HMA) is critical in determining when the ice reserve will be lost as these glaciers thin but is remarkably poorly known because very few measurements have been made. Through a series of ground-based and airborne field tests, we have adapted a low-frequency ice-penetrating radar developed originally for Antarctic over-snow surveys, for deployment as a helicopter-borne system to increase the number of measurements. The manoeuvrability provided by helicopters and the ability of our system to detect glacier beds through thick, dirty, temperate ice makes it well suited to increase greatly the sample of measurements available for calibrating ice thickness models on the regional and global scale. The Bedmap Himalayas radar-survey system can reduce the uncertainty in present-day ice volumes and therefore in projections of when HMA's river catchments will lose this hydrological buffer against drought.
Authors: Pritchard, H.D. ORCID record for H.D. Pritchard, King, E.C. ORCID record for E.C. King, Goodger, D.J., McCarthy, M. ORCID record for M. McCarthy, Mayer, C., Kayastha, R.