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Evaluating acoustic methods for wireless sensing in ice sheets

Lishman, B; Wadham, JL; Kendall, JM; Drinkwater, B; Burrow, S; Craddock, I; Hilton, G; (2011) Evaluating acoustic methods for wireless sensing in ice sheets. Presented at: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

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Tethered subglacial sensors have limitations in range, lifetime, and ease of deployment in comparison to remote wireless sensors. However, wireless subglacial sensors require local power, and therefore energy efficiency is critical for sensing and for communicating data to the surface. Radio frequency communications are efficient in cold ice, but suffer severe attenuation in water, wed mud, and melting ice. Here we consider the suitability of acoustic communications for wet icy environments. We present the results of new field experiments from the Greenland Ice Sheet, showing acoustic attenuation (at 10-30kHz) in ice and subglacial sediments. We combine these results with data from the literature, and measurements of background noise, to produce a link budget, which can be used to predict the feasibility of acoustic communications across a range of ice sheet environments. From this link budget, engineers and glaciologists can compare the relative merits of acoustic and radio frequency communications, and select a strategy which is optimised for the local conditions.

Type: Conference item (UNSPECIFIED)
Title: Evaluating acoustic methods for wireless sensing in ice sheets
Event: American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting
Keywords: Acoustic, Communications, Ice, Sensors
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1348953
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