Helicopter-borne measurements of sea ice thickness, using a small and lightweight, digital EM system.

Haas, Christian, Lobach, John, Hendricks, Stefan, Rabenstein, Lasse and Pfaffling, Andreas (2009) Helicopter-borne measurements of sea ice thickness, using a small and lightweight, digital EM system. Open Access Journal of Applied Geophysics, 67 (3). pp. 234-241. DOI 10.1016/j.jappgeo.2008.05.005.

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Sea ice is an important climate variable and is also an obstacle for marine operations in polar regions. We have developed a small and lightweight, digitally operated frequency-domain electromagnetic-induction (EM) system, a so-called EM bird, dedicated for measurements of sea ice thickness. It is 3.5 m long and weighs only 105 kg, and can therefore easily be shipped to remote places and operated from icebreakers and small helicopters. Here, we describe the technical design of the bird operating at two frequencies of f1 = 3.68 kHz and f2 = 112 kHz, and study its technical performance. On average, noise amounts to ± 8.5 ppm and ± 17.5 ppm for f1 and f2, respectively. Electrical drift amounts to 200 ppm/h and 2000 ppm/h for f1 and f2, during the first 0.5 h of operation. It is reduced by 75% after 2 h. Calibration of the Inphase and Quadrature ppm signals varies by 2 to 3%. A sensitivity study shows that all these signal variations do affect the accuracy of the ice thickness retrieval, but that it remains better than ± 0.1 m over level ice in most cases. This accuracy is also confirmed by means of comparisons of the helicopter EM data with other thickness measurements. The paper also presents the ice thickness retrieval from single-component Inphase data of f1.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Sea ice thickness; Frequency-domain electromagnetics (EM); Helicopter EM (HEM) bird
Research affiliation: HGF-AWI
Refereed: Yes
Publisher: Elsevier
Projects: Polynya, Laptev Sea System
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2015 07:38
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2019 00:38
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/28493

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