Ice thickness and bed topography of fast-flowing outlet glaciers are large sources of uncertainty for the current ice sheet models used to predict future contributions to sea-level rise. Due to a lack of coverage and difficulty in sounding and imaging with ice-penetrating radars, these regions remain poorly constrained in models. Increases in off-nadir scattering due to the highly crevassed surfaces, volumetric scattering (due to debris and/or pockets of liquid water), and signal attenuation (due to warmer ice near the bottom) are all impediments in detecting bed-echoes. A set of high-frequency (HF)/very high-frequency (VHF) radars operating at 14 MHz and 30–35 MHz were developed at the University of Kansas to sound temperate ice and outlet glaciers. We have deployed these radars on a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) and a DHC-6 Twin Otter. For both installations, the system utilized a dipole antenna oriented in the cross-track direction, providing some performance advantages over other temperate ice sounders operating at lower frequencies. In this paper, we describe the platform-sensor systems, field operations, data-processing techniques, and preliminary results. We also compare our results with data from other ice-sounding radars that operate at frequencies both above (Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) Multichannel Coherent Depth Sounder (MCoRDS)) and below (Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Warm Ice Sounding Explorer (WISE)) our HF/VHF system. During field campaigns, both unmanned and manned platforms flew closely spaced parallel and repeat flight lines. We examine these data sets to determine image coherency between flight lines and discuss the feasibility of forming 2D synthetic apertures by using such a mission approach.
Arnold, E.; Rodriguez-Morales, F.; Paden, J.; Leuschen, C.; Keshmiri, S.; Yan, S.; Ewing, M.; Hale, R.; Mahmood, A.; Blevins, A.; Mishra, A.; Karidi, T.; Miller, B.; Sonntag, J. HF/VHF Radar Sounding of Ice from Manned and Unmanned Airborne Platforms. Geosciences 2018, 8, 182.