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In situ index-of-refraction measurements of the South Polar firn with the RICE detector

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Using the RICE (Radio Ice Cherenkov Experiment) detector at the South Pole, we have estimated the variation in the index of refraction (n) of the firn, as a function of elevation (z) measured from the surface down to z = −150 m. Measurements were made by lowering a dipole transmitter into a dry (5 in (127 mm) caliber) borehole, originally drilled for the RICE experiment in 1998, and determining signal arrival times, as a function of transmitter depth, in the englacial RICE receiver array. We clearly confirm the expected correlation of n(z) with ice density. Our measurements are in fair agreement with previous laboratory characterizations of the dielectric properties of ice cores. These are the first such in situ measurements to be performed at the South Pole.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756504781829800

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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