Brief communication: An empirical relation between center frequency and measured thickness for radar sounding of temperate glaciers

MacGregor, Joseph A.; Studinger, Michael; Arnold, Emily; Leuschen, Carlton J.; Rodríguez-Morales, Fernando; Paden, John D.

Radar sounding of the thickness of temperate glaciers is challenged by substantial volume scattering, surface scattering and high attenuation rates. Lower-frequency radar sounders are often deployed to mitigate these effects, but the lack of a global synthesis of their success limits progress in system and survey design. Here we extend a recent global compilation of glacier thickness measurements (GlaThiDa) with the center frequency for radar-sounding surveys. From a maximum reported thickness of inline-formula∼ 1500 m near 1 MHz, the maximum thickness sounded decreases by inline-formula∼ 500 m per frequency decade. Between 25–100 MHz, newer airborne radar sounders generally outperform older, ground-based ones. Based on globally modeled glacier thicknesses, we conclude that a multi-element, inline-formula≤30 MHz airborne radar sounder could survey most temperate glaciers more efficiently.

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MacGregor, Joseph A. / Studinger, Michael / Arnold, Emily / et al: Brief communication: An empirical relation between center frequency and measured thickness for radar sounding of temperate glaciers. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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