Tag Archives: IceSAR

IceSAR campaign heads north

From Klaus Scipal (ESA), Greenland, 7 June As part of the IceSAR 2012 campaign, Jørgen Dall and Anders Kusk from DTU and I headed up north yesterday to fly the Polaris system over the K-transect on Russell Glacier in southwest Greenland. This is near Kangerlussuaq, 67° N, just inside the Arctic Circle. The campaign supports the evaluation of the Biomass candidate Earth Explorer mission. It may sound a little strange that a mission designed to measure forests properties in the Tropics will also be used to map glaciers and ice sheets. This is thanks to the unique Biomass instrument and mission concept, which is based on using a very long wavelength (P-band)...

IceSAR: April flights

From Jørgen Dall and Anders Kusk (DTU Space), Kangerlussuaq, 22 April From Thursday to Saturday (19–21 April), a Twin Otter aircraft was flown over the K-transect, a line starting at the Russell outlet glacier near Kangerlussuaq and stretching some 150 km into the ice sheet. The Twin Otter carried a radar called POLARIS, developed for ESA by the Technical University of Denmark. Asa Tania’s earlier post mentioned, the objective was to assess one of the secondary objectives of ESA’s Biomass Earth Explorer candidate mission: ice mapping. The direction of the antenna pattern can be steered by means of electronic beamforming, and looked to the left, to the right and straight down with...

IceSAR and a corner reflector

From Tania (ESA), Greenland 24 April On Saturday (21 April) the campaign team was up bright and early to get a head start on a special task, which is quite particular to radar sensors in both in the air and space: the deployment of a corner reflector. These rather futuristic looking trihedral-shaped metallic objects – appearing slightly out of place with the natural rocky surroundings of Greenland –  play a crucial role in ensuring that the radar images generated by the campaign are properly calibrated and, therefore, useful for science. When imaged from the air, the corner reflectors reflect the incoming radar waves back to the airborne sensor and later on appear...

IceSAR ready to fly in Greenland

From Tania (ESA), Kangerlussuaq, 20 April It is perhaps somewhat ironic that the P-band imaging SAR designed for forest biomass mapping on the Earth Explorer candidate mission Biomass could also provide unique information on ice sheets in the cryosphere. However, a number of scientific studies have shown that long-wavelength P-band radar images to map forest biomass, may also be highly useful to monitor ice movement on ice caps. Even more tantalisingly, since P-band radar penetrates into the snow surface much more than other radar frequencies, images from Biomass could potentially provide a glimpse of ice structures beneath the surface. So, enter ESA campaigns to test and document this potential ! This weekend,...