ITTC Project

Tracking Internal Layers of the Greenland Ice Sheet Using Airborne Radio Echo Sounder Images

Project Award Date: 06-01-1998


Through analysis of the internal layering structure of the ice, much information about the history and flow of the Greenland ice sheet is gained. This project intends to add to a recently funded proposal for the analysis and interpretation of this layering structure (Comprehensive Analysis of Internal Layering Structure from Airborne Radar: A Window into the Greenland Ice Sheet Flow and History, P1: H.J. Zwally, Co-Is: M. Fahnestock and W. Abdalati, 1997). The aim is to apply various signal processing techniques to the analysis of the layers identified by KU ice-penetrating radar, CARDS, Coherent Antarctic Radar Depth Sounder. CARDS has been used on the NASA P-3 Orion Aircraft over the Greenland ice sheet and provided a valuable record of ice-sheet thickness.

The earlier project included four objectives: to develop tools for analysis of radar data and tracing the ice layers; to trace all ice layers identifiable in available radar data; to gain a better understanding of the horizontal distribution of age vs. depth relationships; and to examine the layer structure for interpretation of spatial accumulation distribution. The goal of this project is to contribute to these objectives in three ways: to remove the effects of multiple reflections by using the application of a homomorphic deconvolution; to help in the development of correlation I pattern-recognition software to identify matching layers; and to investigate the applicability of various warping functions to effectively include the layering structure to provide meaningful data that had been omitted by the radar overflights.

The projects results are expected to include the development of software capable of converting the original radioechograms into deconvolved echograms; in turn, this development removes multiple reflections and strengthens the depth of the return. Once developed, this software will be available to all subsequent CARDS surveys of the ice sheets internal structure. Furthermore, the findings of this project should be applicable to any similar radar surveys of Greenland and Antarctica. A further product of the research will be a set of pattern-recognition software that will identify patterns in the ice layering. Finally, the research will develop a method of interpolating between lines of the radar surveys and fitting surfaces through sparse or discontinuous data. The results of the work will feed directly into the production of maps of different layers within the ice sheet.


Faculty Investigator(s): John Gauch (PI)

Student Investigator(s): XueJun Mao

Project Sponsors

Primary Sponsor(s): NASA

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