ITTC Project

Development of a Monostatic/Bistatic Synthetic Aperture Radar System for Two-Dimensional Mapping of Basal Ice Conditions

Project Award Date: 08-01-2002


John Paden, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering, will design, develop, and evaluate a radar system for two-dimensional mapping of the polar ice sheets. Under the direction of Prasad Gogineni, Deane E. Ackers distinguished professor of electrical engineering, Paden will build the synthetic aperture radar to gather data on the basal conditions of the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets. The radar will determine whether ice sheets are frozen to the base layer or whether water exists between the two layers. Basal conditions are crucial to the understanding of glaciers movements. If the ice sheet is not frozen to the bedrock, then it will be much easier for the glacier to move. The ability to accurately establish the basal conditions will allow researchers to verify theories about the origin and migration of ice streams.

Currently, there exists no technology that can generate a two- dimensional reflectivity map of the ice bed, which is needed to determine basal conditions. A two-dimensional reflectivity map is similar to a topography map. Instead of marking elevation at each point, the strength of the reflectivity at each point is given. The reflectivity is a measure of how much electromagnetic-energy is reflected from the surface. To establish more accurate ice flow models, the radar designed for this project will record data at three frequencies to enable the unambiguous determination of base conditions.

The project will allow researchers to gather further data to assess why the sea level has been rising during the past century. The mean sea level, which appears to have been steady for the last 3,000-4,000 years, has risen between 1 to 2.6 mm per year over the last 100 years. T he effects of the rising sea levels could be disastrous. More than 60 percent of the worlds population lives in coastal regions, and 100 million people live on land whose elevation is within one meter of the mean sea level. Both the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets act as large stores of water, holding more than 75 percent of the fresh water in the world. The complete melting of the ice sheets would raise the global sea level as much as 70 meters.

Researchers already know that the ice sheets have been contributing to the rise in the sea level. Through NASAs Program for Arctic Regional Climate Assessment (PARCA), much of Greenland's ice sheet has been mapped in recent years and significant thinning has been found along its perimeter. This project will add to researchers ability to assess the current and future contribution of the ice sheets to sea level rise.

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Faculty Investigator(s): Sivaprasad Gogineni (PI)

Student Investigator(s): John Paden

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.

Commercialization Development

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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