ESA'S POLarimetric Airborne Radar Ice Sounder (POLARIS): design and first results

Jørgen Dall, Steen Savstrup Kristensen, Viktor Krozer, Carlos Cilla Hernández, Jens Vidkjær, Anders Kusk, Jan E. Balling, Niels Skou, Sten Schmidl Søbjærg, Erik Lintz Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The Technical University of Denmark has developed and tested a P-band ice sounding radar for European Space Agency (ESA). With the recent by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) allocation of a radar band at 435 MHz, increased interest in space-based sounding of the Earth s ice caps has been encountered. ESA s POLarimetric Airborne Radar Ice Sounder (POLARIS) is intended to provide a better understanding of P-band scattering and propagation through ice sheets and to verify novel surface clutter suppression techniques in preparation for a potential space-based ice sounding mission. POLARIS is a nadir-looking, fully polarimetric radar featuring aperture synthesis, a multi-aperture antenna for surface clutter suppression and a large dynamic range based on a shallow/deep sounding approach. The system is installed in a De Haviland DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft, and in May 2008, a proof-of-concept campaign was conducted in Greenland. This study outlines the design and implementation of the system, and based on first results it is concluded that in the central dry snow zone of Greenland, POLARIS can resolve shallow and deep internal ice layers, penetrate the thickest ice encountered and detect the bedrock.
Original languageEnglish
JournalI E T Radar, Sonar and Navigation
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)488-496
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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