EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Best practices for collecting polarimetric data with ApRES for constraining ice-fabric orientation and its spatial variability

Olaf Eisen1,5, Reza Ershadi2, Reinhard Drews2, Sophie Berger1, Da Gong3, Yazhou Li3, Carlos Martin4, and Ole Zeising1
Olaf Eisen et al.
  • 1Alfred Wegener Institute, Glaciology, Bremerhaven, Germany (
  • 2University of Tübingen, Department of Geosciences, Tübingen, Germany
  • 3Polar Research Center, Jilin University, Changchun 130026, China
  • 4British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge, UK
  • 5Geosciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

In recent years radar polarimetry has re-surfaced as an ideal tool to determine ice-fabric patterns and linked mechanical ice anisotropy. The leap forward was facilitated by coherent data processing often collected by phase-sensitive Radio-Echo-Sounding (pRES) systems at fixed locations. The polarimetric response can either be synthesized from a set of quad-polarimetric measurements or obtained by manually rotating the antennas. Specifics of the data collection in the field varied between the different surveys, and no set of best practices has yet emerged.  Here we present a systematic study that includes more than fifty different combinations of how polarimetric data can be acquired, including:

  • different distances between the transmitter and receiver (2, 4 and 8 m)
  • different combinations in polarization orientation (22.5 deg)
  • a comparison between discrete full azimuthal data collected every 22.5 degrees and synthesized data collected in a quad-pole setup
  • the effect of 180-degree polarization orientation on repeat measurements, e.g., basal melt rate and polarimetric analysis, e.g., coherence phase
  • definition of Horizontal (H) and Vertical (V) orientation is pRES antenna setup and its impact on synthesizing and analyzing data
  • 90-degree fabric orientation ambiguity in polarimetric data

This study aims to provide best practices, considering that observation time in the field is limited. Ideally, this will lead to a unified setup and nomenclature, facilitating better compatibility from data collected by different groups on ice sheets, shelves, and glaciers.

How to cite: Eisen, O., Ershadi, R., Drews, R., Berger, S., Gong, D., Li, Y., Martin, C., and Zeising, O.: Best practices for collecting polarimetric data with ApRES for constraining ice-fabric orientation and its spatial variability, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-1021,, 2022.

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