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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 09 Jan 2020

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Improved GNSS-R bi-static altimetry and independent DEMs of Greenland and Antarctica from TechDemoSat-1

Jessica Cartwright1,2, Christopher J. Banks3, and Meric Srokosz1 Jessica Cartwright et al.
  • 1National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK
  • 2Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  • 3National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool, UK

Abstract. Improved Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets are presented, derived from Global Navigation Satellite Systems-Reflectometry (GNSS-R). This builds on a previous study (Cartwright et al., 2018) using GNSS-R to derive an Antarctic DEM but uses improved processing and an additional 13 months of measurements, totalling 46 months of data from the UK TechDemoSat-1 satellite. A median bias of under 10 m and root-mean-square (RMS) errors of under 53 m for the Antarctic and 166 m for Greenland are obtained, as compared to existing DEMs. The results represent, compared to the earlier study, a halving of the median bias to 9 m, an improvement in coverage of 18 %, and a four times higher spatial resolution (now gridded at 25 km). In addition, these are the first published satellite altimetry measurements of the region surrounding the South Pole. Comparisons south of 88° S yield RMS errors of less than 33 m when compared to NASA’s Operation IceBridge measurements. Differences between DEMs are explored and the future potential for ice sheet monitoring by this technique is noted.

Jessica Cartwright et al.
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Jessica Cartwright et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
This study uses reflected GPS signals to measure ice at the South Pole itself for the first time. These measurements are essential to understand the interaction of the ice with the Earth’s physical systems. Orbital constraints mean that satellites are usually unable to measure in the vicinity of the South Pole itself. This is overcome here by using data obtained by UK TechDemoSat-1. Data are processed to obtain the height of glacial ice across the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
This study uses reflected GPS signals to measure ice at the South Pole itself for the first...