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Ice Height and Backscattering Coefficient Variability over Greenland Ice Sheets Using SARAL Radar Altimeter

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Ice sheets investigation is important with regard to climate change and contribution to the sea level rise or fall. Radar altimetry in complement with laser altimetry can serve as a suitable candidate for precise monitoring of ice sheet evaluations. SARAL due to higher observation into the polar region (up to 82.5°N) can cover nearly 100% of the Greenland ice sheet. Continuous ice tracking mode retracker can provide useful information about ice surfaces, that is, determining the snow coverage, ice sheet transaction margin, and the evolution of snow depth during winter more accurately. This study present the results obtained with SARAL satellite Altika radar altimeter over the Greenland ice sheet region. The altimeter high rate waveforms products are used for utilizing the full capability of the instrument. High resolution DEM (1 km) generated using ICESAT/GLAS altimeter has been used for selecting the good quality data over the study region. Four different retrackers—Ocean, ICE-1, ICE-2, and Sea-Ice—were tested on the SARAL altimeter data set and compared with the DEM extracted ice sheet elevations. Three different data analysis—region of interest (ROI), track analysis, and cross-over analysis—were performed for in-depth analysis of the ice height changes and back scattering coefficient variability. ROI's (1° × 0.5°) were selected based on accumulation dry snow zone, percolation zone, wet snow zone, and ablation zone. Finally to observe the effect of Ka band, SARAL results has been compared with the Envisat altimeter in terms of back scatter and error in the height retrieval due to penetration problem within the ice sheet layer. The new SARAL data set confirms the potential of ice altimetry and provides a new opportunity to monitor the ice sheet surface topography evolution.
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Keywords: Altimetry; Crossover adjustment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Space Applications Centre (ISRO), Ahmedabad, India

Publication date: September 10, 2015

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