Articles | Volume 12, issue 9
Research article
19 Sep 2018
Research article |  | 19 Sep 2018

Coherent large beamwidth processing of radio-echo sounding data

Anton Heister and Rolf Scheiber

Abstract. Coherent processing of radio-echo sounding data of polar ice sheets is known to provide an indication of bedrock properties and detection of internal layers. We investigate the benefits of coherent processing of a large azimuth beamwidth to retrieve and characterize the orientation and angular backscattering properties of the surface and subsurface features. MCRDS data acquired over two distinct test areas in Greenland are used to demonstrate the specular backscattering properties of the ice surface and of the internal layers, as well as the much wider angular response of the bedrock. The coupling of internal layers' orientation with the bed topography is shown to increase with depth. Spectral filtering can be used to increase the SNR of the internal layers and mitigate the surface multiple. The variance of the bed backscattering can be used to characterize the bed return specularity. The use of the SAR-focused RES data ensures the correct azimuth positioning of the internal layers for the subsequent slope estimation.

Short summary
We provide a method based on Fourier analysis of coherent radio-echo sounding data for analyzing angular back-scattering characteristics of the ice sheet and bed. The characteristics can be used for the bed roughness estimation and detection of subglacial water. The method also offers improved estimation of the internal layers' tilt. The research is motivated by a need for a tool for training dictionaries for model-based tomographic focusing of multichannel coherent radio-echo sounders.