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Comparing satellite and helicopter-based methods for observing crevasses, application in East Antarctica


Thompson, SS and Cook, S and Kulessa, B and Winberry, JP and Fraser, AD and Galton-Fenzi, BK, Comparing satellite and helicopter-based methods for observing crevasses, application in East Antarctica, Cold Regions Science and Technology, 178 Article 103128. ISSN 0165-232X (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.coldregions.2020.103128


Knowing where crevasses are is critical for planning safe on-ice field operations. Previous methods have ranged from real-time imaging of subsurface structures using ground penetrating radar, to mapping of crevasses over large areas using satellite imagery, with each method having it's own strengths and weaknesses. In this paper we compare the detection of crevasses at the Totten Glacier, East Antarctica, from helicopter-borne ground penetrating radar with satellite-based microwave synthetic aperture radar imagery. Our results show that the 80 MHz helicopter-borne ground penetrating radar was able to detect crevasses up to a depth of 70 m, with snow bridge thickness of >30 m. Comparison with TerraSAR-X (X-band, 9.6 GHz) satellite imagery indicates that the latter is highly effective, detecting 100% of crevasses with snow bridges of up to 4 m thick and detected 95% of crevasses with snow bridges up to 10 m thick. The ability of both methods to identify individual crevasses is affected by several factors including crevasse geometry, survey or satellite orientation and snow moisture content, and further experiments are planned to investigate performance under a wider range of conditions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ground-penetrating radar, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), crevasses, field safety
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Physical geography and environmental geoscience
Research Field:Glaciology
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Natural hazards
Objective Field:Natural hazards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Thompson, SS (Dr Sarah Thompson)
UTAS Author:Cook, S (Dr Sue Cook)
UTAS Author:Kulessa, B (Professor Bernd Kulessa)
UTAS Author:Fraser, AD (Dr Alex Fraser)
UTAS Author:Galton-Fenzi, BK (Dr Ben Galton-Fenzi)
ID Code:139779
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2020-07-03
Last Modified:2022-08-23
Downloads:26 View Download Statistics

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