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Scattering of VHF radio waves from within an ice sheet containing the vertical-girdle-type ice fabric and anisotropic reflection boundaries

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We studied the scattering of radio waves off strata within the ice sheet at Mizuho station, Antarctica, to determine the most plausible scattering mechanisms at this location. We measured the effects of birefringence and anisotropic scattering boundaries on the return signal using the following set of experimental conditions: (1) co-polarization and cross-polarization antenna arrangements, (2) all orientations of the antenna system, (3) 60 and 179 MHz frequencies, and (4) pulse lengths of 150-1000 ns. Analyses of the propagated radio waves suggested that the signal is dominated by anisotropic scattering boundaries at 179 MHz, but effects from birefringence also occurred. At depths of 250-750 m, the scattering was stronger when the polarization plane was along the flowline. In contrast, at depths of about 900-1500 m, scattering was stronger when the polarization plane was perpendicular to the flowline. We suggest that the scattering below about 250 m is related to a layered ice stratum of crystal-orientation fabrics with different types or different cluster strengths. Although our study was at a single site, similar remote measurements over wider regions should provide valuable information about the physical structure of this vast ice sheet.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-06-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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