As part of the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) ~4432 km of new radar depth sounding data was acquired over the Thwaites Glacier catchment by the British Antarctic Survey. Data was collected using the PASIN-2 polametric radar system, fitted on the BAS aerogeophysical equipped survey aircraft "VP-FBL". The survey operated from Lower Thwaites Glacier camp, and focused on collecting data in regions of ice >1.5 km thick between 70 and 180 km from the grounding line. Additional profiles from the coast to the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) divide and over the eastern shear margin were also flown. Ice thicknesses between 418 and 3744 m were measured, with a minimum bed elevation of -2282 m imaged.
Our Twin Otter aircraft was equipped with dual-frequency carrier-phase GPS for navigation, radar altimeter for surface mapping, wing-tip magnetometers, an iMAR strapdown gravity system, and a new ice-sounding radar system (PASIN-2).
We present here the full radar dataset consisting of the deep-sounding chirp and shallow-sounding pulse-acquired data in their processed form, as well as the navigational information of each trace, the surface and bed elevation picks, ice thickness, and calculated absolute surface and bed elevations. This dataset comes primarily in the form of NetCDF and georeferenced SEGY files. To interactively engage with this newly-published dataset, we also created segmented quicklook PDF files of the radar data.
Antarctica, Geophysics, ITGC, Radar, Thwaites Glacier, aerogeophysics, ice thickness, surface elevation
Jordan, T., & Robinson, C. (2021). Processed airborne radio-echo sounding data for the Thwaites Glacier 2019 survey, West Antarctica (2019/2020) (Version 1.0) [Data set]. NERC EDS UK Polar Data Centre. https://doi.org/10.5285/e7aba676-1fdc-4c9a-b125-1ebe6124e5dc
|Use Constraints:||This data is covered by a UK Open Government Licence (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/) Further by downloading this data the user acknowledges that they agree with the NERC data policy (http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/sites/data/policy.asp), and the following conditions:
1. To cite the data in any publication as follows:
Jordan, T., & Robinson, C. (2021). Processed airborne radio-echo sounding data for the Thwaites Glacier 2019 survey, West Antarctica (2019/2020) (Version 1.0) [Data set]. NERC EDS UK Polar Data Centre. https://doi.org/10.5285/E7ABA676-1FDC-4C9A-B125-1EBE6124E5DC
2. The user recognizes the limitations of data. Use of the data is at the users' own risk, and there is no warranty as to the quality or accuracy of any data, or the fitness of the data for your intended use. The data are not necessarily fully quality assured and cannot be expected to be free from measurement uncertainty, systematic biases, or errors of interpretation or analysis, and may include inaccuracies in error margins quoted with the data.
|ISO Topic Categories:||
|Organisation||British Antarctic Survey|
|Name||Dr Tom A Jordan|
|Organisation||British Antarctic Survey|
|Name||Mr Carl Robinson|
|Organisation||British Antarctic Survey|
|Reference:||More information on the radar system and processing can be found at:
Corr, H.F., Ferraccioli, F., Frearson, N., Jordan, T., Robinson, C., Armadillo, E., Caneva, G., Bozzo, E. and Tabacco, I., 2007. Airborne radio-echo sounding of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin, the Transantarctic Mountains and the Dome C region. Terra Antartica Reports, 13, pp.55-63.
|Quality:||Analysis of 52 crossover points within the survey area indicates a standard deviation for the bed elevation of ~22m, which is in-line with the values suggested for previous radar surveys. Lidar derived surface elevation has a crossover error of ~10 m. The relatively high value is attributed to use of Lidar nadir range to ground un-corrected for aircraft roll, pitch and yaw.
Line spacing is on the order of 15 km (designed to inter-leave with previous surveys). Along line data spacing is ~24 m.
|Lineage:||** Instrumentation and Processing:
Radar data were collected using the new bistatic PASIN-2 radar echo sounding system mounted on the BAS Twin Otter aircraft "VP-FBL" and operating with a centre frequency of 150 MHz and using a 4-microseconds, 13 MHz bandwidth linear chirp. The PASIN system transmitted 5 separate pulses from the wing arrays as follows; Port 4 microseconds chirp; Starboard 4 microseconds chirp; Port 4 microseconds chirp 180deg phase shift; Starboard 4 microseconds chirp 180deg phase shift; Port 1 microseconds chirp. Data for every antenna and pulse is recorded separately, in 20 second segments.
Chirp compression was applied using a Blackman window to minimise sidelobe levels, resulting in a processing gain of 10 dB. The chirp data was processed using a coherent averaging filter (commonly referred to as unfocused Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) processing) with Doppler beam sharpening to enhance the signal to clutter ratio of the bed echo and improve visualisation. The chirp data is best suited to assess the bed and internals in deep ice conditions. The coherent pulse-data (0.1-microseconds) was processed using a coherent averaging filter. This data is best used to assess the internal structure and bed in shallow ice conditions.
For picking the along-track bed elevation, only data from the port antenna array was used. Data from all the port antennas was combined, and the 4 microseconds and microseconds 180° phase shift pulses were combined to enhance the array gain and minimise coherent noise. The use of the same transmit/receive array theoretically minimises the power loss due to cross polarisation of the opposite wing. Along-track SAR focusing was applied to the combined port wing data. The segy files for each flight were then imported into the Promax seismic processing package. Down trace 'time' is simply the sample number across the 64 microseconds window, digitised at 120 MHz (i.e. max sample number = 7680 = 64 microseconds). Weighted trace mixing across 5 traces was applied to improve the signal to noise ratio of the data and down-trace automatic gain control was applied to reveal low amplitude returns from deeper reflectors. An initial window ~100 samples above the bed reflection was manually defined (top mute). An automated first break pick algorithm was then run to locate the precise bed return below the top mute. Subsequent manual picking removed un-realistic spikes, and selected the most physically appropriate bed surface in cases where multiple reflections were seen close to the bed. Generally the shallowest reflector was assumed to be the bed, as off-axis reflectors would likely appear later (deeper) in the section. In some cases strong reflectors which appeared deeper were chosen, with shallower week reflectors assumed to reflect entrained debris, accreted ice, or un-compensated refraction hyperbole close to the bed.
The PASIN radar system does not resolve the ice surface well. Range to surface from coincident LIDAR data, or calculated from an accurate DEM is therefore preferred. However, to estimate ice thickness and hence correct bed elevation, the location of the surface reflector in the radargram must be known. To calculate the theoretical surface pick location from the LIDAR or DEM range to ground these measurements must be calibrated. To do this the ice surface location for a single flight (T05) was picked from the Port to Starboard (P2S) radar dataset. Use of this dataset avoided the problem of the transmit pulse and switching period overlapping with the surface reflection. The location of the surface reflector was picked in Promax following a similar approach to the bed, with an additional bottom mute defined ~100 samples below the surface reflection. The Promax surface pick was then plotted against the LIDAR range to ground and a linear trend fit to the data. The resulting slope and offset was used to calculate the theoretical location of the surface in all the subsequent radargrams from either LIDAR or DEM derived range to ground. Where possible the range to ground value was from LIDAR data, or interpolated from the mean Lidar elevation within ~700 m. Where no LIDAR data was available within ~1400 m horizontally the REMA DEM was used, with a smooth interpolation between the surface elevation data sources.
To calculate ice thickness the difference between the bed pick and theoretical surface pick was calculated, the range in samples converted to microseconds, and the thickness in meters calculated assuming a radar velocity in ice of 168 m/microseconds. An additional 10 m correction was added to account for the assumed different radar velocity within the un-compacted firn layer.
Survey locations and aircraft elevation were interpolated from 10Hz coupled Precise Point Positioning (PPP) GNSS/INS solutions processed one month after data acquisition to ensure best accuracy of satellite orbit definitions and atmospheric corrections. LIDAR data was extracted from the nadir point value from a Riegl Q240i-80 system. Note no correction for aircraft attitude has been applied, which increases the uncertainty in surface elevation. Where no LIDAR data was available the surface elevation from the REMA 8m DEM was used.
Note: Flights T04 and T15 contain no bed/surface pick or elevation information (such as surface/bed elevation/aircraft elevations, ice thickness, etc).
** Coordinates and Positions:
The coordinates provided in the NetCDF for the surface and bed elevation for each radar trace are in longitude and latitude (WGS84, EPSG: 4326). The navigation attributes for the radar data in the NetCDF are in projected X and Y coordinates (Polar Stereographic, EPSG: 3031), as follows:
Latitude of natural origin: -71
Longitude of natural origin: 0
Scale factor at natural origin: 0.994
False easting: 0
False northing: 2082760.109
The coordinates in the SEGY data are also in projected X and Y coordinates (Polar Stereographic, EPSG: 3031), although note that these are in integer format due to the SEGY limitations (see section below).
Positions are calculated for the phase centre of the aircraft antenna. All positions (Longitude, Latitude and Height) are referred to the WGS1984 ellipsoid.
Please note: Due to the unstable nature of SEGY-formatted data and its uncertain long-term future, as well as the issues documented below, we also provide the full radar data in NetCDF format. The dataset provided here consists of three parts: a NetCDF file per flightline, two SEGY files per flightline (one chirp and one pulse), and one quicklook PDF file per flightline. These are described in more details below.
- NetCDF: The NetCDF files contain the processed deep-sounding chirp and shallow-sounding pulse-acquired data in their processed form, as well as the associated metadata, navigational information (in both EPSG: 3031 and WGS84 EPSG: 4326), and the associated radar-related information for each trace (e.g. surface/bed elevation and picks, ice thickness, aircraft altitude, range to surface, time of trace) which are provided as separate attributes in the NetCDF file. The navigational position of each trace comes from the surface files, and the processed GPS files when no surface information was provided or when duplicates were found in the surface file (see Quality section above). Note that for these, interpolation of the navigational data might have been required to match closely the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of each trace in the surface files. No data is shown as "-9999" throughout the files.
- 'traces': Trace number for the radar data (x axis)
- 'fast_time': Two-way travel time (y axis) (units: microseconds)
- 'x_coordinates': Cartesian x-coordinates for the radar data (x axis) (units: meters in WGS84 EPSG:3031)
- 'y_coordinates': Cartesian y-coordinates for the radar data (x axis) (units: meters in WGS84 EPSG:3031)
- 'chirp_data': Radar data for the processed (coherent) chirp (units: power in dBm)
- 'pulse_data': Radar data for the processed (coherent) pulse (units: power in dBm)
- 'PriNumber': Incremental integer reference number related to initialisation of the radar system that permits the processed segy data and picked surface and bed to be linked back to raw radar data (also known as PriNum) (units: arbitrary - integers)
- 'longitude_layerData': Longitudinal position of the trace number (units: degree_east in WGS84 EPSG:4326)
- 'latitude_layerData'': Latitudinal position of the trace number (units: degree_north in WGS84 EPSG:4326)
- 'UTC_time_layerData': Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of trace (also known as resTime) (units: seconds)
- 'terrainClearanceAircraft_layerData': Terrain clearance distance from platform to air interface with ice, sea or ground (also known as resHt) (units: meters)
- 'aircraft_altitude_layerData': Aircraft altitude (also known as Eht) (units: meters relative to WGS84 ellipsoid)
- 'surface_altitude_layerData': Ice surface elevation for the trace number from radar altimeter and LiDAR (units: meters relative to WGS84 ellipsoid)
- 'surface_pick_layerData'': Location down trace of surface pick (BAS system) (units: microseconds)
- 'bed_altitude_layerData': Bedrock elevation for the trace number derived by subtracting ice thickness from surface elevation (units: meters relative to WGS84 ellipsoid)
- 'bed_pick_layerData': Location down trace of bed pick (BAS system) (units: microseconds)
- 'land_ice_thickness_layerData': Ice thickness for the trace number obtained by multiplying the two-way travel-time between the picked ice surface and ice sheet bed by 168 m/microseconds and applying a 10 meter correction for the firn layer (units: meters)
- SEGY: The SEGY files are provided for the processed-chirp and pulse-acquired data and have been georeferenced using the navigational position of each trace from the surface files, and the processed GPS files when no surface information was provided in the surface files. Note that for these, interpolation of the navigational data might have been required to match closely the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of each trace in the surface files.
SEGY header description:
- byte number 1-4 and 5-8 (SEQWL and SEQWR): Trace number for the SEGY
- byte number 9-12 (FFID): PriNumber for each SEGY trace
- byte number 73-76 (SRCX): Cartesian x-coordinates for each SEGY trace (units: meters in WGS84 EPSG:3031)
- byte number 77-80 (SRCY): Cartesian y-coordinates for each SEGY trace (units: meters in WGS84 EPSG:3031)
- byte number 115-116 (NSMP): Number of samples for each SEGY trace
- byte number 117-118 (SI): Sampling interval for each SEGY trace
Note that the current version of the SEGY (Revision 1.0) does not yet allow to store double-precision floats in the "Source X/Y" trace headers and thus the X and Y positions for each trace are rounded to the nearest integer when exporting the data. This will affect the accurate position of each trace in the SEGY data, however the precise X and Y position of each trace can be obtained from the NetCDF files if necessary. When loading in the georeferenced SEGY files into seismic-interpretation software for data visualisation and analysis, the user might be warned that duplicate traces are found within the data and that this might cause "bad performance". This is caused by the rounding of the X and Y positions in the SEGY headers as explained above and should only affect the position of a relatively small amount of traces.
- Quicklook: The quicklook PDF files were produced to allow for a quick visualisation of the radar data and the position of each flightline with regards to the rest of the survey flightlines. The radar image in the PDF is from the processed chirp radar data and is split into 25-km segments for the Thwaites 2019 survey. These segments (and the radar images associated with them) are the same as those shown on the Polar Airborne Geophysics Data Portal.
|Ownership:||The Thwaites 2019/20 aerogeophysical survey was carried out as part of the BAS National Capability contribution to the NERC/NSF International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) program. Data processing was supported by the BAS Geology and Geophysics team|
|Detailed Location||Thwaites Glacier|
|Data Collection:||** Instrument:
Radar data were collected using the new bistatic PASIN-2 (Polarimetric radar Airborne Science Instrument) radar echo sounding system operating in full polarimetric mode and mounted on the BAS Twin Otter aircraft "VP-FBL" and operating with a centre frequency of 150 MHz and using a 4-microseconds, 13 MHz bandwidth linear chirp (deep sounding). The Pulse Repetition Frequency was 15,635 Hz (pulse repetition interval: 64
** Antenna configuration:
8 transmitters (4x port, 4x starboard)
12 receivers (8 wings, 4x belly)
Antenna gain: 11 dBi (with 4 elements)
Transmit power: 1 kW into each 4 antennae
Maximum transmit duty cycle: 10% at full power (4 x 1 kW)
** Waveform details:
Four waveforms, 4uS Tukey port, 4uS Tukey starboard, 1uS Tukey port, 1uS Tukey starboard.
** Radar receiver configuration:
Receiver vertical sampling frequency: Receiver vertical sampling frequency: 120 MHz (resulting in sampling interval of 8.33 ns)
Receiver coherent stacking: 25
Receiver digital filtering: -50 dBc at Nyquist (11 MHz)
Effective PRF: 312.5 Hz (post-hardware stacking)
Sustained data rate: 10.56 Mbytes/second
|Distribution Media||Online Internet (HTTP)|
|Distribution Size||22 GB|
|Data Storage:||This dataset comprises of:
- 9x NetCDF files (one per flightline) containing the deep-sounding chirp and the shallow-sounding pulse radar data, the navigational data of each trace, as well as the surface and bed elevation/pick information, ice thickness data, aircraft altitude, etc. (Total size: 10GB).
- 18x georeferenced SEGY files (2x per flightline): 28x for chirp and 29x for pulse (Total size: 11GB).
- 9x quicklook PDF files (one per flightline) containing the segmented radar profiles and a map of the segment for quick visualisation (Total size: 300 MB).