Development of a Spatial/Frequency Domain Interferometry Radar System for the Measurement of Sea-Ice Thickness
Project Award Date: 08-30-2004
ITTC researchers will design, develop and evaluate an airborne, interferometery radar system for the direct measurement of sea-ice thickness and extent. The prototype radar will be evaluated during a field experiment in the Arctic Ocean in October 2004. Upon successful testing of the system, a spaceborne sensor will be developed. The research directly addresses the science question regarding how well long-term climate trends can be assessed or predicted.
Currently, there exists no technology that can generate sea-ice thickness and extent measurements on a global scale at regular intervals from space or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). These measurements have been listed as one of the highest priority measurement gaps in the polar regions by the National Research Council. Sea ice impacts the globe by insulating the Arctic and Antarctic regions from incident thermal energy; in addition, it plays a strong role in global ocean circulation.
ITTC researchers will develop an airborne spatial and frequency domain interferometery radar system which, once proven, will be transformed to a spaceborne implementation. The system takes advantage of interferometery techniques in order to overcome issues with scattering that other implementations face as well as to increase range resolution. Initial models indicate the radar should operate at VHF, which has been found to be optimum for avoiding difficulties with absorption. This preliminary research has been performed in conjunction with a team that is led by JPL as part of NASA's Instrument Incubator Program (IIP).
Primary Sponsor(s): NASA