ITTC Project

Validation of AMSR Snow Depth on Sea Ice Retrievals Using an Airborne Pulse Radar

Project Award Date: 03-01-2002


The Remote Sensing Laboratory at ITTC is performing research to develop an airborne, stepped-pulse radar that will be able to validate the data on snow depth over sea ice, obtained by NASA's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Microwave Imager (SSM/I) using a satellite-based passive microwave algorithm. Knowledge of snow depth on sea ice is important to understanding many conditions of oceans and the atmosphere. Currently only passive microwave sensors provide the capability to retrieve snow depths from satellites. To verify the satellite data, in-situ, surface-based measurements of the snow depth have been tried. But the value of these sparse, single measurements is limited, as snow depth over sea ice can vary by tens of centimeters or more over several meters due to drifting snow or sea ice age. To gain more confidence in the measurements (on a pixel-by-pixel basis), and to obtain a quantitative estimate of the limitations of the algorithm being used, we need spatially and temporally coincident measurements on the same scale as the satellite data.

A surface-based stepped frequency pulse radar has successfully measured snow depths to an accuracy of about 2 cm. ITTC's research will develop an airborne system that uses Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) processing to improve along-track resolution and array processing in the cross-track direction. The collected radar measurements will be used to validate AMSR snow depth on sea ice retrievals during three different field campaigns, including both polar regions and a wide range of sea ice types and snow conditions. After completion of the investigation, accuracy and error sources in the AMSR algorithm should be much better defined and, if necessary, modifications can be made to enhance the retrievals. In addition, the instrument will be available for more detailed, field-based snow studies.

This project involves collaboration with Dr. Thorsten Markus at the University of Maryland.


Faculty Investigator(s): Sivaprasad Gogineni (PI), Glenn Prescott

Student Investigator(s): Sudarsan Krishnan, Brandon Heavey, Ravi Rajaraman, Krishna Kumar Gurumoorthy, Timothy Rink, Kuok-Wai (Wilson) Wong, Bharath Parthasarathy, Jason Henslee, William Donovan, Andrew Yoder

Project Sponsors

Primary Sponsor(s): NASA

Partner with ITTC

The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the University of Kansas has developed several assistance policies that enhance interactions between the Center and local, Kansas, or national companies. 

ITTC assistance includes initial free consulting (normally one to five hours). If additional support is needed, ITTC will offer one of the following approaches: 

Sponsored Research Agreement

Individuals and organizations can enter into agreements with KUCR/ITTC and provide funds for sponsored research to be performed at ITTC with the assistance of faculty, staff and students.

Licensing and Royalty/Equity Agreement

An ITTC goal is the development of investment-grade technologies for transfer to, and marketing by, local, Kansas, and national businesses. To enhance this process, the Center has developed flexible policies that allow for licensing, royalty, and equity arrangements to meet both the needs of ITTC and the company.

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Companies with a technology need that can be satisfied with ITTC's resources can look to us for assistance. We can develop a relationship with interested partners that will provide for the development of a technology suited for commercialization.

ITTC Resource Access

ITTC resources, including computers and software systems, may be made available to Kansas companies in accordance with the Center's mission and applicable Regents and University policies.

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