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  1. Abstract Ice-penetrating radar sounding is a powerful geophysical tool for studying terrestrial and planetary ice with a rich glaciological heritage reaching back over half a century. Recent years have also seen rapid growth in both the radioglaciological community itself and in the scope and sophistication of its analysis of ice-penetrating radar data. This has been spurred by a combination of growing datasets and improvements in computational resources as well as advances in radar sounding instrumentation and platforms. Together, these developments are transforming the field and highlight exciting paths forward for future innovation and investigation. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. Abstract The earliest airborne geophysical campaigns over Antarctica and Greenland in the 1960s and 1970s collected ice penetrating radar data on 35 mm optical film. Early subglacial topographic and englacial stratigraphic analyses of these data were foundational to the field of radioglaciology. Recent efforts to digitize and release these data have resulted in geometric and ice-thickness analysis that constrain subsurface change over multiple decades but stop short of radiometric interpretation. The primary challenge for radiometric analysis is the poorly-characterized compression applied to Z-scope records and the sparse sampling of A-scope records. Here, we demonstrate the information richness and radiometric interpretability of Z-scope records. Z-scope pixels have uncalibrated fast-time, slow-time, and intensity scales. We develop approaches for mapping each of these scales to physical units (microseconds, seconds, and signal to noise ratio). We then demonstrate the application of this calibration and analysis approach to a flight in the interior of East Antarctica with subglacial lakes and to a reflight of an East Antarctic ice shelf that was observed by both archival and modern radar. These results demonstrate the potential use of Z-scope signals to extend the baseline of radiometric observations of the subsurface by decades. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Subglacial topography is an important feature in numerous ice-sheet analyses and can drive the routing of water at the bed. Bed topography is primarily measured with ice-penetrating radar. Significant gaps, however, remain in data coverage that require interpolation. Topographic interpolations are typically made with kriging, as well as with mass conservation, where ice flow dynamics are used to constrain bed geometry. However, these techniques generate bed topography that is unrealistically smooth at small scales, which biases subglacial water flowpath models and makes it difficult to rigorously quantify uncertainty in subglacial drainage patterns. To address this challenge, we adapt a geostatistical simulation method with probabilistic modeling to stochastically simulate bed topography such that the interpolated topography retains the spatial statistics of the ice-penetrating radar data. We use this method to simulate subglacial topography using mass conservation topography as a secondary constraint. We apply a water routing model to each of these realizations. Our results show that many of the flowpaths significantly change with each topographic realization, demonstrating that geostatistical simulation can be useful for assessing confidence in subglacial flowpaths. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Basal units – visibly distinct englacial structures near the ice-bed interface – warrant investigation for a number of reasons. Many are of unknown composition and origin, characteristics that could provide substantial insight into subglacial processes and ice-sheet history. Their significance, moreover, is not limited to near-bed depths; these units appear to dramatically influence the flow of surrounding ice. In order to enable improved characterization of these features, we develop and apply an algorithm that allows for the automatic detection of basal units. We use a tunable layer-optimized SAR processor to distinguish these structures from the bed, isochronous englacial layers and the ice-sheet surface, presenting a conceptual framework for the use of radio-echo character in the identification of ice-sheet features. We also outline a method by which our processor could be used to place observational constraints on basal units’ configuration, composition and provenance. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Radar surveys across ice sheets typically measure numerous englacial layers that can often be regarded as isochrones. Such layers are valuable for extrapolating age–depth relationships away from ice-core locations, reconstructing palaeoaccumulation variability, and investigating past ice-sheet dynamics. However, the use of englacial layers in Antarctica has been hampered by underdeveloped techniques for characterising layer continuity and geometry over large distances, with techniques developed independently and little opportunity for inter-comparison of results. In this paper, we present a methodology to assess the performance of automated layer-tracking and layer-dip-estimation algorithms through their ability to propagate a correct age–depth model. We use this to assess isochrone-tracking techniques applied to two test case datasets, selected from CreSIS MCoRDS data over Antarctica from a range of environments including low-dip, continuous layers and layers with terminations. We find that dip-estimation techniques are generally successful in tracking englacial dip but break down in the upper and lower regions of the ice sheet. The results of testing two previously published layer-tracking algorithms show that further development is required to attain a good constraint of age–depth relationships away from dated ice cores. We recommend that auto-tracking techniques focus on improved linking of picked stratigraphy across signal disruptions to enable accurate determination of the Antarctic-wide age–depth structure. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Airborne radio-echo sounding (RES) surveys are widely used to measure ice-sheet bed topography. Measuring bed topography as accurately and widely as possible is of critical importance to modelling ice dynamics and hence to constraining better future ice response to climate change. Measurement accuracy of RES surveys is influenced both by the geometry of bed topography and the survey design. Here we develop a novel approach for simulating RES surveys over glaciated terrain, to quantify the sensitivity of derived bed elevation to topographic geometry. Furthermore, we investigate how measurement errors influence the quantification of glacial valley geometry. We find a negative bias across RES measurements, where off-nadir return measurement error is typically −1.8 ± 11.6 m. Topographic highlands are under-measured an order of magnitude more than lowlands. Consequently, valley depth and cross-sectional area are largely under-estimated. While overall estimates of ice thickness are likely too high, we find large glacier valley cross-sectional area to be under-estimated by −2.8 ± 18.1%. Therefore, estimates of ice flux through large outlet glaciers are likely too low when this effect is not taken into account. Additionally, bed mismeasurements potentially impact our appreciation of outlet-glacier stability. 
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  7. Abstract Here we use polarimetric measurements from an Autonomous phase-sensitive Radio-Echo Sounder (ApRES) to investigate ice fabric within Whillans Ice Stream, West Antarctica. The survey traverse is bounded at one end by the suture zone with the Mercer Ice Stream and at the other end by a basal ‘sticky spot’. Our data analysis employs a phase-based polarimetric coherence method to estimate horizontal ice fabric properties: the fabric orientation and the magnitude of the horizontal fabric asymmetry. We infer an azimuthal rotation in the prevailing horizontal c -axis between the near-surface ( z ≈ 10–50 m) and deeper ice ( z ≈ 170–360 m), with the near-surface orientated closer to perpendicular to flow and deeper ice closer to parallel. In the near-surface, the fabric asymmetry increases toward the center of Whillans Ice Stream which is consistent with the surface compression direction. By contrast, the fabric orientation in deeper ice is not aligned with the surface compression direction but is consistent with englacial ice reacting to longitudinal compression associated with basal resistance from the nearby sticky spot. 
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  8. Abstract Fast ice flow on the Antarctic continent constitutes much of the mass loss from the ice sheet. However, geophysical methods struggle to constrain ice flow history at depth, or separate the signatures of topography, ice dynamics and basal conditions on layer structure. We develop and demonstrate a methodology to compare layer signatures in multiple airborne radar transects in order to characterize ice flow at depth, or improve coverage of existing radar surveys. We apply this technique to generate synthetic, along-flow radargrams and compare different deformation regimes to observed radargram structure. Specifically, we investigate flow around the central sticky spot of Whillans Ice Stream, West Antarctica. Our study suggests that present-day velocity flowlines are insufficient to characterize flow at depth as expressed in layer geometry, and streaklines provide a better characterization of flow around a basal sticky spot. For Whillans Ice Stream, this suggests that ice flow wraps around the central sticky spot, supported by idealized flow simulations. While tracking isochrone translation and rotation across survey lines is complex, we demonstrate that our approach to combine radargram interpretation and modeling can reveal critical details of past ice flow. 
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