Abstract

The Antarctic ice sheet is a geophysically - and in an age of growing concern about global warming, geopolitically - important portion of Earth. The composition and dynamics of the Antarctic ice sheet influence global climate patterns, global sea level and the planet's radiation budget. Recent evidence also suggests that the long term stability of portions of the ice sheet may be in jeopardy. In this thesis I use data from three Ku-band space-borne scatterometers to monitor changes in the backscatter signature of the Antarctic ice sheet from 1978 through 2007. Significant changes in backscatter, which result from geophysical changes in the ice sheet itself, are found over much of the Antarctic continent, especially in West Antarctica and along much of the coasts. Less drastic changes, including regular seasonal variations, are observed over much of the ice shelf. Possible scattering mechanisms are proposed and discussed. A secondary result is the demonstration of the stability of NASA's QuikSCAT scatterometer, data from which is used extensively in this thesis and in many other publications. It is shown that QuikSCAT's observation geometry and backscatter instrumentation have remained consistent to great precision throughout its nearly nine-year long mission.

Degree

MS

College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Electrical and Computer Engineering

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2008-06-06

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd2407

Keywords

scatterometer, Antarctica, ice sheet, remote sensing, QuikSCAT

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