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A Polarimetric Coherence Method to Determine Ice Crystal Orientation Fabric From Radar Sounding: Application to the NEEM Ice Core Region

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • Tom Jordan
  • Dustin Schroeder
  • Davide Castelletti
  • Jilu Li
  • Jorgen Dall
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Early online date4 Jul 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 20 May 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 4 Jul 2019


Ice crystal orientation fabric (COF) records information about past ice-sheet deformation and influences the present-day flow of ice. Polarimetric radar sounding provides a means to infer anisotropic COF patterns due to the associated birefringence of polar ice. Here, we develop a polarimetric coherence (phase-based) method to determine horizontal properties of the COF. The method utilizes the azimuth and depth dependence of the vertical gradient of the hhvv coherence phase to infer the dielectric principal axes and birefringence, which are then related to the second-order fabric orientation tensor. Specifically, under the assumption that one of the orientational eigenvectors is vertical, we can determine the horizontal eigenvectors and the difference between the horizontal eigenvalues (a measure of horizontal fabric asymmetry). The method exploits single-polarized data acquired with varying antenna orientation. It applies to ground-based ``multi-polarization'' surveys and is demonstrated using data acquired by Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) using Multi-Channel Coherent Radar Depth Sounder (MCRDS) from the North Greenland Eemian Ice Drilling (NEEM) ice core region in Greenland. The analysis is validated using a combination of polarimetric matrix backscatter simulations and comparison with COF data from the NEEM ice core. The results are consistent with a conventional model of ice deformation at an ice divide where a lateral tension component is present, with minor horizontal COF asymmetry and the greatest horizontal concentration of crystallographic axes orientated near parallel to the ice divide.

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via IEEE at DOI: 10.1109/TGRS.2019.2921980. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 2.47 MB, PDF document


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