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

Quad-polarimetric radar measurements autonomously obtained with an ice-rover at Ekström Ice Shelf, East Antarctica

M.Reza Ershadi1, Reinhard Drews1, Inka Koch1, Jonathan Hawkins2, Keith Nicholls3, Joshua Elliott4, Falk Oraschewski1, Richard Hanten5, Cornelia Schulz5, Sepp Kipfstuhl6, and Olaf Eisen6
M.Reza Ershadi et al.
  • 1University of Tübingen, Department of Geoscience, Tübingen, Germany
  • 2University College London, Institutional Research Information Systems, London, UK
  • 3British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge, UK
  • 4Dartmouth College, Thayer School of Engineering, Polar Regions Robotics Lab, NH, USA
  • 5The University of Tübingen, Cognitive Systems Group, Computer Science Department, Tübingen, Germany
  • 6Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar- and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany

Acquisition of quad-polarimetric radar data on ice sheets gives insights about the ice-fabric variability with depth and consequently can deliver essential constraints on the spatially variable ice rheology. Polarimetric measurements are collected manually in most ground-based surveys, discretely sampling a limited profile range. Measurements are time-intensive and often do not cover critical areas such as shear zones where field safety is a concern. Autonomous rovers can provide an alternative that optimizes for time, sampling resolution and safety.  

Here, we present an autonomous acquisition technique of quad-polarimetric radar data using a rover. This technique is based on a previous layout that has proven its capacity to navigate in various snow conditions but did not yet actively trigger the geophysical instruments attached. We upgraded the rover with a novel Robotic Operating System (ROS2) that interfaces simultaneously with a real-time positioning GPS and an automatic phase-sensitive radio-echo sounder (ApRES) with multiple transmitters multiple receivers. Like this, the rover can autonomously steer to pre-destined waypoints and then take static measurements at those locations also in areas where field safety might be compromised. We demonstrate this proof-of-concept on the Ekström Ice Shelf Antarctica, where we acquired densely spaced polarimetric radar data measurements. The rover’s operating system offers many opportunities for other measurement principles, e.g., densely spaced co-polarized data suitable for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) processing.

How to cite: Ershadi, M. R., Drews, R., Koch, I., Hawkins, J., Nicholls, K., Elliott, J., Oraschewski, F., Hanten, R., Schulz, C., Kipfstuhl, S., and Eisen, O.: Quad-polarimetric radar measurements autonomously obtained with an ice-rover at Ekström Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-948,, 2022.