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Radar workshop, March 2012

SVALI Phd course/workshop at Center for Ice and Climate, University of Copenhagen. 

Applications of radar data from ice sheets to understand ice flow processes.

Dates:         12-16 March 2012 (week 11).
Location:     Center for Ice and Climate (CIC), Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Final program for the workshop can be found here!

Flyer available here!

The aim of this course/workshop is to discuss radar data and how they can be interpreted to inform about ice processes. Radio-echo sounding (RES) of ice sheets provides information on ice thickness, stratigraphy, and bedrock conditions. Radar data are also used to characterize the physical properties of the ice, and InSAR techniques are used to generate surface velocity maps.
Themes to be discussed: understanding the nature and limitations of radar data, the physical properties causing radar reflections, snow radar, applications of radar data to reveal ice flow processes, such as folding, basal melting and refreezing, incorporation of basal material, and inferring the ice thickness and accumulation rate history from radar data.

Participants: Phd students, postdocs, other scientists interested in radar data and interpretations.

Credit: 2.5 ECTS (attending), additional 2.5 ECTS if there is a presentation during the course.

Format: Overview lectures by invited lecturers, moderated discussions, presentations by the participants, poster session. All participants are invited to present their current work and results, and to suggest topics for discussion sessions.

Excursions: CIC ice core laboratory and ice core collections. Niels Bohr Institute and Archives (depending on the interest).

Registration: Send email to: [email protected] with your name and contact details. Please indicate whether you are planning to present your work (oral or poster), and the title of your presentation. No registration fee. Travel, accommodation and meals are paid by the participants, except a few informal meals during the week. Updated information will be available through the SVALI homepage.

Registration deadline: 13 February 2012.

Organizer:    Christine S. Hvidberg and Nanna B. Karlsson, University of Copenhagen. Contact:

Themes, preliminary:
1.    Radar data – overview of radar principles, measurements and limitations.

  • Introduction to radar. Propagation of EM waves through ice. Antennas, types of radar, waveform design.
  • Signal processing. Steps to generate a radar echogram. Internal layers, multiple reflections, models of bed returns and simulations.
  • Polarimetric radar. Phase sensitive radar. Radar to measure snow accumulation.
2.    Interpreting the radar signal:
  • Physical properties causing radar reflections. (comparison with icecores, snow/firn radar)
  • Firn densification process. Density variations. Surface meltwater.
  • Conductivity, density, fabric, temperature, geophysical measurements and relation to radar.
3.    Basal conditions and processes:
  • Basal properties inferred from radar data.
  • Basal geology and heat flux, inferred basal melt rates, basal hydrology.
  • Incorporation of basal material, melting and refreezing processes, lessons from geology?
4.    Folding of internal layers and incorporation of basal material.
  • Evidence of folding, shear planes, and discontinuous layers from internal radar layers.
  • Comparison between ice cores and radar layers
  • Folding of layers, lessons from geology?
5.    Ice flow pattern and past accumulation rates.
  • Inferring ice flow history and past accumulation rates from radar layers and inverse methods.

6.    InSAR and applications in glaciology.

  • Principles of InSAR. Generation of surface topography and surface elevation. Sample results from Greenland and Antarctica. Use of surface velocity maps to constrain ice sheet models.

Confirmed lecturers, preliminary list:

Prof. Prasad Gogenini (CReSIS, Kansas University)

Prof. Dorthe Dahl-Jensen (CIC, University of Copenhagen)

Dr. Michelle Koutnik (CIC, University of Copenhagen)

Dr. Thorben Dunse (Oslo University)

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Last modified : Mar. 27, 2012
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