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Snow thickness profiling on Antarctic sea-ice with GPR - rapid and accurate measurements with the potential to upscale needles to a haystack

Citation

Pfaffhuber, AA and Lieser, JL and Haas, C, Snow thickness profiling on Antarctic sea-ice with GPR - rapid and accurate measurements with the potential to upscale needles to a haystack, Geophysical Research Letters, 44, (15) pp. 7836-7844. ISSN 0094-8276 (2017) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.1002/2017GL074202

Abstract

Snow thickness on sea ice is a largely under-sampled parameter, yet of importance for the sea-ice mass balance and for satellite based sea-ice thickness estimates and thus our general understanding of global ice-volume change. Traditional direct thickness measurements with meter sticks can provide accurate but only spot information, referred to as "needles" due to their pinpoint focus and information while airborne and satellite remote sensing snow products, referred to as "the haystack" have large uncertainties due to their scale. We demonstrate the remarkable accuracy and applicability of ground penetrating radar (GPR) snow-thickness measurements by comparing them with in-situ, meter-stick data from two field campaigns to Antarctica in late winter/early spring. The efficiency and millimeter- to centimeter accuracy of GPR enables practitioners to acquire extensive, semi-regional data with the potential to upscale "needles" to "the haystack" and to potentially calibrate satellite remote sensing products that we confirm to derive roughly 30 % of the in-situ thickness. We find the radar wave propagation velocity in snow to be rather constant (+/- 6%), encouraging regional snow-thickness surveys. Snow thinner than 10 cm is under the detection limit with the off-the-shelf GPR setup utilized in our study.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctica, snow on sea ice, GPR
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience
Research Field:Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Environment
Objective Group:Climate and Climate Change
Objective Field:Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic Environments (excl. Social Impacts)
UTAS Author:Lieser, JL (Dr Jan Lieser)
ID Code:118752
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2017-07-19
Last Modified:2018-04-20
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