Radar Remote Sensing

I have a strong interest in developing Radar techniques for Glaciology. Glaciers and ice sheets are often very difficult to access and are usually subject to adverse weather conditions that can halt field campaigns in an instant. Because Radars are active systems (i.e. they emit their own radiation), they can overcome these issues by imaging through rain, snow and at night. This means that they can be deployed to perform round-the-clock monitoring of glaciers in order to measure key processes that could not be monitored using traditional field techniques or optical instruments.

The AVTIS millimetre wave radar. Photo from W.D. Harcourt.

In my research, I am specifically developing the method of ground-based millimetre wave radar for glacier remote sensing. Why? Firstly, Radars can image in almost any weather conditions allowing round-the-clock monitoring. Secondly, ground-based sensors can measure glacier processes at the scale of hours to days, elucidating changes on spatial and temporal scales unresolvable by satellite techniques. Thirdly, millimetre waves are able to image the environment with a higher angular resolution than more conventional lower frequency systems (e.g. the GAMMA TRI [1]). This exciting new research will be applied to a number of glaciological applications (see here) and will enhance the suite of Remote Sensing instruments able to monitor glacier processes.

[1] Werner, C., Strozzi, T., Wiesmann, A., Wegmuller, U. (2008). GAMMA’s portable radar interferometer, 13th FIG Symposium on Deformation Measurement and Analysis, Lisbon, 12-15 May, 1-10.