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Glaciological advances made with interferometric synthetic aperture radar

  • Ian Joughin (a1), Ben E. Smith (a1) and Waleed Abdalati (a2)


Spaceborne interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) techniques for measuring ice flow velocity and topography have developed rapidly over the last decade and a half, revolutionizing the study of ice dynamics. Spaceborne interferometry has contributed to major progress in many areas of glaciological study by: providing the first comprehensive measurements of ice-stream flow velocity over the major outlets of Greenland and Antarctica; revealing that ice-stream and outlet-glacier flow can change rapidly (months to years); improving understanding of several ice-sheet and ice-shelf processes; providing velocity for flux-gate based mass-balance assessment; mapping flow of mountain glaciers; and capturing the geomorphic traces of past ice flow. We review the basic technique development, the measurement characteristics, and the extensive set of results yielded by these measurements.

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