Polar Cryosphere Remote Sensing - Investigation of Snow and Ice Poperties at Land and Sea to Improve Remotely Sensed Mass Balance Observations

Status: Completed

Dates: 2008 - 2010

Māori Relevant Content: No

Project Abstract

Satellite-derived data from Antarctica provide significant information on snow and ice properties. This information is critical to understanding climate, climate change and the response of Antarctica to such change. The quality and reliability of the satellite-derived data depends on algorithms developed and tested with robust ground truth data. This project is dedicated to the validation of the satellite Cryosat-2, to be launched by the European Space Agency in 2009. The immediate vicinity of Scott Base offers unique access to a range of test sites with different sea ice and land ice facies. On land ice, measurements from Ground Penetrating Radar and snow pits will be taken along a satellite track ranging from the flat ice shelf up to the dry snow zone of Mt. Erebus in more complex terrain, representing a typical satellite path. These ground measurements will be complemented by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flights, which will collect measurements on surface height and roughness.  Ground measurements on sea ice will be conducted by the New Zealand sea ice group of the University of Otago under the leadership of P. Langhorne. Airborne sea ice measurements will be conducted with cooperation of C. Haas, University of Alberta, Canada, using a helicopter-borne electromagnetic sounder (HEM bird). The program is related to the New Zealand Science in Antarctica & the Southern Ocean themes 1C and 1D.

Associated Projects

Researchers - UC Staff

Researchers - Non-UC Staff

  • Wendy Clavano: Research Assistant; University of Alberta, Canada
  • Christian Haas: Associate Investigator; University of Alberta, Canada
  • Pat Langhorne: Principal Investigator; University of Otago
  • James Pinchin: Postgraduate student; Geospatial Research Centre

Associated Equipment

Subject Area: Disciplines