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Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements

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Using radar to map the bedrock under polar ice poses special challenges.

Picture of John Paden   Audio version (10.8 MB)  
Video version (18.4 MB) - mov format
Speaker: John Paden, graduate student, EECS, University of Kansas, 2002.

Modified Transcript: We're designing an ice-penetrating radar. Most of the radars that you are used to thinking about, like a policeman's radar for determining the speed of a vehicle, operate in air. The electromagnetic propagation through air is fairly simple. In our case we are building an ice penetrating radar, so that adds a whole lot of unknowns. At the same time it is what allows us to look at the bottom of the ice, which is something we can't do otherwise. We can't just go up to Greenland, or down to Antarctica and dig through kilometers of ice just to find out what the bedrock reflectivity is. But it does pose unique and difficult challenges.


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