Dissertation Defense

Lake Icepack and Dry Snowpack Thickness Measurement Using Coherent Multipath Interference of Wideband Planck Radiation

Mohammad Mousavi
3316 EECSMap


The seasonal terrestrial snowpack is an important source of water for many parts of the globe. The global quantification of the amount of water in the snowpack reservoir has been a long term objective of most remote sensing applications. Current microwave remote sensing of dry snowpack is based on frequency-dependent differential scatter-darkening mechanism. This technique is region specific and depends on the statistics of snow grain sizes.

Lakes also provide one of the most important freshwater resources. Moreover, lake icepack puts pressure on off-shore structures, such as wind farms. It is also an essential parameter for the safety of ice fishing and ice skating activities. The current and traditional method of ice thickness measurement is by drilling holes through the ice, which is not only cumbersome but also dangerous.

In this work, a novel microwave radiometric technique, wideband autocorrelation radiometry (WiBAR), is developed. The radiometer offers a direct method to remotely measure the microwave propagation time difference of multipath microwave emission from low-loss layered surfaces, such as a dry snowpack and a freshwater lake icepack. This time difference through the pack yields a measure of its vertical extent. It is also a low-power sensing method since there is no transmitter.

Chair: Professor Kamal Sarabandi and Dr. Roger De Roo