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Glacioradar


Airborne phase coded VHF radar system

 

Patent n° 1351704

issued on January 14, 2009

 

During the early 1997 a cooperation between the INGV and the "Università degli Studi di Milano - Earth Sciences Department" has been initiated to design a low power radar based on the pulse compression technique to measure the Antarctic glaciers thickness, to identify subglacial lakes and to map the subglacial bedrock topography beneath the continental ice sheet.

The glacioradar may be classified as a Radio-Echo Sounding (RES) airborne radar system usually operating in the VHF band [30 - 300 MHz].
Radio-echo sounding devices are designed to perform depth sounding of glaciers through the emission of radio frequency pulses thus recording the amplitude, time delay and phase of the echo return signal. Amplitude, phase and delay are the radio-electric parameters which prove useful both in determining the surface and internal layers depth and in identifying the characteristics of the reflecting surface.
RES systems can be used to measure the continental ice sheet thickness, to determine the volume of outlet glaciers (ice tongues), to investigate the internal layering, to detect the subglacial bedrock and possibly subglacial lakes down to around 5 km depth beneath the ice surface.
 



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