PhD Student

Adam Steer


Toward high resolution estimates of East Antarctic pack ice thickness

Aproject uses airborne LiDAR, aerial photography and field observations of sea ice to investigate methods for sea ice thickness estimation using altimetry, at the scale of a few metres to a few hundred metres. The sea ice thickness distribution around Antarctica is essentially unknown at resolutions below 12.5 km x 12.5 km. A lot goes on inside that space – ice pack mechanics, ocean / atmosphere heat exchange, light availability, nutrient availability. All these things are decided on the scale of metres to hundreds of metres, which is invisible to current satellite observations. Airborne LiDAR provides an elevation signal. Imagery assists with detecting reference points for sea ice elevation (open water in the ice pack). Field observations – drill holes and snow, ice and water density measurements – are parameters in a model along with sea ice elevation, used to estimate ice thickness. Of course, setting boundaries about how well thickness estimates and their distributions match reality is critical. To do so, rigorous propagation of variances is used throughout the modelling process. Finally, results are compared directly with coincident direct observations of ice thickness and draft.


Dr Christopher Watson

Dr Jan Lieser
Dr Arko Lucieer
Dr Jon Osborn


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