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Airborne Glacier and Land Ice Surface Topography Interferometer

  • The upgraded airborne Glacier and Ice Surface Topography Interferometer (GLISTIN-A) flew initial (8/6/12 and 8/13/12) and final (1/17/13 and 2/26/13) checkout flights on a DFRC G-III (C-20).
    -  Initial assessments of the Ka-band single pass interferometer (which is an interface to UAVSAR)  show system performance consistent with prediction
    -  Instrument integration and flight process improvements have been implemented
  • Glacier and Ice Surface Topography Interferometer (GLISTIN) will provide all-weather, high-resolution swath ice surface topography, not available through existing lidar (i.e. ICESAT-2) or radar (CryoSAT) sensors

Example height map (Fig 1. Left) and height precision (Fig 2. Right) for a region near Palmdale. Data is 3m posting and is NOT calibrated (in progress).

First demonstration of mm-wave SAR interferometry (2009)

GLISTIN-A (airborne) engineering upgrades completed 2012 to improve height accuracy –results shown at right

(Fig 3) Results from GLISTIN-A engineering flight (ping-pong acquisition mode) for Rosamond area collected 8/6/12. The color represents height and one color cycle corresponds to 100m).  Results posted at 10m.


Campaign Objectives for April 2013:

  1. Map glacial zones to demonstrate improved altimetric wide-swath mapping capability in the cryospheric environment;
  2. Mapping tidal glaciers to support science rationale in upcoming NASA science suborbital proposal;
  3. First experimental mapping of sea-ice demonstrating free-board measurement viability (relevant for SWOT);
  4. Underfly CryoSAT II for satellite cal/val, and  to quantify differential penetration; and
  5. Collect snow-cover DEM’s at the SnowSTAR and ASO Tuolumne campaign sites for snow inventory assessment.


(Fig 5) Race tracks collected on the transit in (4/24) and the transit out (4/27)

(Fig 6) Race tracks collected on the transit in (4/24) and the transit out (4/27)

(Fig 7) Columbia Glacier

(Fig 8) Columbia Glacier

(Fig 9) Columbia Glacier Mosaic 4/24

(Fig 9) Columbia Glacier Mosaic Error 4/24


Snow hydrology basin (SNOW-STAR)

  • Image is over the Toolik region for a snow hydrology experiment in Northern Alaska
    -  3m posting, 12km swath
    -  Height errors ~10cm near-range to 2m far range
  • Coordinated ground and flight activities (lidar, Ku-band polarimeter, in situ ) in collaboration with CSA, ESA and NASA.
  • DEM collected 4/25 a week after campaign concluded
    -  Conditions static in interim so meaningful intercomparison is probable
  • Similar collections conducted coincident with  Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO – PI Painter) site in Tuolumne meadows last August (snow-off) and April (snow-on)

(Fig 10) GLISTIN-A Glacier Mapping 4/25/13