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Combined airborne laser and radar altimeter measurements over the Fram Strait in May 2002

Giles, KA; Laxon, SW; Wingham, DJ; Wallis, DW; Krabill, WB; Leuschen, CJ; ... Raney, RK; + view all (2007) Combined airborne laser and radar altimeter measurements over the Fram Strait in May 2002. REMOTE SENS ENVIRON , 111 (2-3) 182 - 194. 10.1016/j.rse.2007.02.037.

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Abstract

Knowledge of sea ice thickness is critical for the prediction of future climate, and for assessing the significance of changes in thickness. Sea ice thickness can be calculated from radar or laser satellite altimetry measurements of freeboard. However, a lack of knowledge of snow depth introduces significant uncertainties into these calculations.This paper compares the first coincident airborne laser and radar altimetry data over sea ice, collected during the Laser Radar Altimetry (LaRA) field campaign. LaRA was a flight of opportunity that provided valuable data to explore techniques to validate satellite measurements of ice freeboard, and the possibility of combining laser and radar measurements over snow covered sea ice to calculate the snow depth. Two new methods were created to analyse these data sets: a new radar retracker and a radar power simulator, which models radar returns from the laser data.We present the first quantitative analysis of data from the LaRA laser and radar altimeters, and demonstrate the potential of combining laser and radar altimetry to estimate snow depth. LaRA elevation estimates compare well with elevations from the radar altimeter onboard ERS-2 at the sub-meter level and the study provides lessons for future validation of satellite altimetry data over sea ice. Laser elevations are consistently higher than the radar elevations over snow covered sea ice. As LaRA was a flight of opportunity, no coincident in-situ measurements were available. Nevertheless, the difference between the reflecting surface of the laser and radar is consistent with snow depth from climatology and the analysis techniques developed in this paper will be useful for future radar and laser altimetry comparisons. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Type:Article
Title:Combined airborne laser and radar altimeter measurements over the Fram Strait in May 2002
DOI:10.1016/j.rse.2007.02.037
Keywords:radar altimetry, laser altimetry, sea ice thickness, snow depth, SEA-ICE, ARCTIC ICE, THICKNESS, LAND
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Earth Sciences

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