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We recently reported on the radio-frequency attenuation length of cold polar ice at Summit Station, Greenland, based on bi-static radar measurements of radio-frequency bedrock echo strengths taken during the summer of 2021. Those data also allow studies of (a) the relative contributions of coherent (such as discrete internal conducting layers with sub-centimeter transverse scale) vs incoherent (e.g. bulk volumetric) scattering, (b) the magnitude of internal layer reflection coefficients, (c) limits on signal propagation velocity asymmetries (‘birefringence’) and (d) limits on signal dispersion in-ice over a bandwidth of ~100 MHz. We find that (1) attenuation lengths approach 1 km in our band, (2) after averaging 10 000 echo triggers, reflected signals observable over the thermal floor (to depths of ~1500 m) are consistent with being entirely coherent, (3) internal layer reflectivities are ≈–60$\to$–70 dB, (4) birefringent effects for vertically propagating signals are smaller by an order of magnitude relative to South Pole and (5) within our experimental limits, glacial ice is non-dispersive over the frequency band relevant for neutrino detection experiments.
We report an in situ measurement of the electric field attenuation length Lα at radio frequencies for the bulk ice at Summit Station, Greenland, made by broadcasting radio-frequency signals vertically through the ice and measuring the relative power in the return ground bounce signal. We find the depth-averaged field attenuation length to be at 75 MHz. While this measurement has clear radioglaciological applications, the radio clarity of the ice also has implications for the detection of ultra-high energy (UHE) astrophysical particles via their radio emission in dielectric media such as ice. Assuming a reliable extrapolation to higher frequencies, the measured attenuation length at Summit Station is comparable to previously measured radio-frequency attenuation lengths at candidate particle detector sites around the world, and strengthens the case for Summit Station as a promising northern site for UHE neutrino detection.
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