About this collection

The Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) has collected airborne radio-echo sounding and related data from a number of Arctic ice masses. The Arctic surveys include ice masses in the archipelagos of Norwegian Svalbard, Russian Franz Josef Land and Severnaya Zemlya, the Canadian Queen Elizabeth islands (including extensive surveys on Devon and Ellesmere islands) and on parts of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The aim of such surveys was primarily to measure, in many cases for the first time, the thickness of these glaciers, ice caps and parts of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Radio-echo sounding at MHz frequencies is a well-established technique for measuring ice thickness (e.g. Dowdeswell and Evans, 2004). A proportion of the energy emitted from an aircraft-mounted transmit antenna is reflected back from the ice surface, but a proportion also penetrates through the ice to the bed of the ice mass and is reflected back to be recorded through a receive antenna. The two way-travel time is then converted to distance (the speed of radio waves in air and ice is well-known) and, hence, the ice thickness is calculated.

Many of the surveys for which data is collated in this collection were undertaken with the collaboration of other groups of scientists. Details can be found in the papers that have resulted from the survey. Principal collaborators include the Dept. of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (A.F. Glazovsky, Y.Y. Macheret), the Dept. of Geophysics, University of Texas (D.D. Blankenship, D.A. Young), and the University of Alberta (M.J. Sharp). Much of the UK funding came from a series of Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) grants to Prof. Julian Dowdeswell (SPRI), who was the PI on the projects.

This data holding contains ice thickness and related data acquired from a number of airborne platforms (fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters) between 1983 and 2014 from many of the major ice caps of the Arctic and for parts of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Much of the data has been incorporated in scientific papers available in the international literature. This database provides access to the full suite of Arctic ice-thickness measurements. Where still available, raw waveform data from RES profile measurements are included in digital format.

Papers related to the Arctic RES survey data held in this Collection

Harcourt, W.D., Palmer, S.J., Mansell, D.T., Le Brocq, A., Bartlett, O., Gourmelen, N., Tepes, P., Dowdeswell, J.A., Blankenship, D.D. and Young, D.A., 2020. Subglacial controls on dynamic thinning at Trinity-Wykeham Glacier, Nunavut, Canada. International Journal of Remote Sensing, v. 41, p. 1191-1213. doi:10.1080/01431161.2019.1658238

Sanchez-Gamez, P., Navarro, F.J., Benham, T.J., Glazovsky, A.F., Bassford, R.P. and Dowdeswell, J.A., 2019. Intra- and inter-annual variability in dynamic discharge from the Academy of Sciences Ice Cap, Severnaya Zemlya, Russian Arctic, and its role in modulating mass balance. Journal of Glaciology, v. 65, p. 780-797. doi:10.1017/jog.2019.58

Fuerst, J.J., Navarro, F., Gillet-Chaulet, F., Huss, M., Moholdt, G., Fettweis, X., Lang, C., Seehaus, T., Ai, S., Benham, T.J., Benn, D.I., Bjornsson, H., Dowdeswell, J.A., Grabiec, M., Kohler, J., Lavrentiev, I., Lindback, K., Pettersson, R., Rippin, D., Saintenoy, A., Sanchez-Gamez, P., Schuler, T.V., Sevestre, H., Vaslinenko, E. and Braun, M.H., 2018. The ice-free topography of Svalbard. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 45, p. 11760-11769. doi:10.1029/2018GL079734

Rutishauser, A., Blankenship, D.D., Sharp, M., Skidmore, M.L., Greenbaum, J.S., Grima, C. Schroeder, D.M., Dowdeswell, J.A. and Young, D.A., 2018. Discovery of a hypersaline subglacial lake complex beneath Devon Ice Cap, Canadian Arctic. Science Advances, v. 4, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aar4353

Willis, M.J., Zheng, W., Durkin, W.J., Pritchard, M.E., Ramage, J.M., Dowdeswell, J.A., Benham, T.J., Bassford, R.P., Stearns, L.A., Glazovsky, A.F., Macheret, Y.Y. and Porter, C.C., 2018. Massive destabilization of an Arctic ice cap. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 502, p. 146-155. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2018.08.049

Zheng, W., Pritchard, M.E., Willis, M.J., Tepes, P.D., Gourmelen, N., Benham, T.J. and Dowdeswell, J.A., 2018. Accelerating glacier mass loss on Franz Josef Land, Russian Arctic. Remote Sensing of Environment, v. 211, p. 357-375. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2018.04.004

Farinotti, D., Brinkerhoff, D., Clarke, G.K.C., Furst, J.J., Frey, H., Gantayat, P., Gillet-Chaulet, F., Girard, C., Huss, M., Leclercq, P.W., Linsbauer, A., Machguth, H., Martin, C., Maussion, F., Morlingem, M., Mosbeux, C., Pandit, A., Portmann, A., Rabatel, A., Ramsankaran, R.J., Reerink, T.J., Sanchez, O., Stentoft, P.A., Kumari, S.S., van Pelt, W.J.J., Anderson, B., Benham, T., Binder, D., Dowdeswell, J.A., Fischer, A., Helfricht, K., Kutuzov, S. McNabb, R., Gudmundsson, G.H., Li, H. and Andreassen, L.M., 2017. How accurate and estimates of ice thickness? Results from ITMIX, the Ice Thickness Intercomparison eXperiment. The Cryosphere, v. 11, p. 949-970. doi:10.5194/tc-11-949-2017

Furst, J.J., Gillet-Chaulet, F., Benham, T.J., Dowdeswell, J.A., Grabiec, M., Navarro, F., Pettersson, R., Moholdt, G., Nuth, C., Sass, B., Aas, K., Fettweis, X., Lang, C., Seehaus, T and Braun, M., 2017. Application of a two-step approach for mapping ice thickness to various glacier types on Svalbard. The Cryosphere, v. 11, p. 2003-2032. doi:10.5194/tc-11-2003-2017

Montelli, A., Dowdeswell, J.A., Ottesen, D. and Johansen, S.E., 2017. Ice-sheet dynamics through the Quaternary on the mid-Norwegian continental margin inferred from 3D seismic data. Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 80, p. 228-242. doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2016.12.002

Morlighem, M., Williams, C., Rignot, E., An, L., Arndt, J.E., Mamber, J., Catania, G., Chauche, N., Dowdeswell, J.A. and 23 others, 2017. BedMachine v3: complete bed topography and ocean bathymetry mapping of Greenland from multi-beam echo sounding combined with mass conservation. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 44, p. 11,051-11,061. doi:10.1002/2017GL074954

Rutishauser, A., Grima, C., Sharp, M., Blankenship, D.D., Young, D.A., Cawkwell, F. and Dowdeswell, J.A., 2017. Characterizing near-surface firn using the scattered signal component of the glacier surface return from airborne radio-echo sounding. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 43, p. 12502-12510. doi:10.1002/2016GL071230

Van Wychen, W., Davies, J., Copland, L., Burgess, D.O., Gray, L., Sharp, M., Dowdeswell, J.A. and Benham, T.J., 2017. Variability in ice motion and dynamic discharge from Devon Ice Cap, Nunavut, Canada. Journal of Glaciology, v. 63, p. 436-449. doi:10.1017/jog.2017.2

Carr, J.R., Vieli, A., Stokes, C.R., Jamieson, S.S.R., Palmer, S.J., Christoffersen, P., Dowdeswell, J.A., Nick, F.M., Blankenship, D.D. and Young, D.A., 2015. Basal topographic controls on rapid retreat of Humboldt Glacier, northern Greenland. Journal of Glaciology, v. 61, p. 137-150. doi:10.3189/2015JoG14J128

McMillan, M., Shepherd, A., Gourmelen, N., Dehecq, A., Leeson, A., Ridout, A., Flament, T.,Hogg, A., Gilbert, L., Benham, T., van den Broak, M., Dowdeswell, J.A., Fettweis, X., Noel, B. and Strozzi, T., 2014. Rapid dynamic activation of a marine-based Arctic ice cap. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 41, p. 8902-8909, doi:10.1002/2014GL062255.

Van Wychen, W., Burgess, D.O., Gray, L., Copland, L., Sharp, M., Dowdeswell, J.A. and Benham, T.J., 2014. Glacier velocity and dynamic ice discharge from The Queen Elizabeth Islands, Nunavut, Canada. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 41, 484-490. doi:10.1002/2013GL058558

Griggs, J.A., Bamber, J.L., Hurkmans, R.T.W.L., Dowdeswell, J.A., Gogineni, S.P., Howat, I., Mouginot, J., Paden, J., Palmer, S., Rignot, E. and Steinhage, D., 2013. A new bed elevation dataset for Greenland. The Cryosphere. v. 7, p. 499-510. doi:10.5194/tc-7-499-2013

Palmer, S.J., Dowdeswell, J.A., Christoffersen, P., Young, D.A., Blankenship, D.D., Greenbaum, J.S., Benham, T., Bamber, J. and Siegert, M.J., 2013. Greenland subglacial lakes detected by radar. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 40, doi:10.1002/2013GL058383.

Moholdt, G., Heid, T., Benham, T. and Dowdeswell, J.A., 2012. Dynamic instability of marine-terminating glacier basins of Academy of Sciences Ice Cap, Russian High Arctic. Annals of Glaciology, v. 53, p. 193-201. doi:10.3189/2012AoG60A117

Pettersson, R., Christoffersen, P., Dowdeswell, J.A., Pohjola, V., Hubbard, A. and Strozzi, T., 2011. Ice thickness and basal conditions of Vestfonna ice cap, eastern Svalbard. Geografiska Annaler, v. 93, p. 311-322. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0459.2011.00438.x

Mair, D., Burgess, D., Sharp, M., Dowdeswell, J.A., Benham, T., Marshall, S. and Cawkwell, F., 2009. Mass balance of the Prince of Wales Icefield, Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada. Journal of Geophysical Research., v. 114, doi:10.1029/2008JF001082.

Dowdeswell, J.A., Benham, T.J., Strozzi, T. and Hagen, J.O., 2008. Iceberg calving flux and mass balance of the Austfonna ice cap on Nordaustlandet, Svalbard. Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 113, F03022, doi:10.1029/ 2007JF000905.

Williamson, S.N., Sharp, M.J., Dowdeswell, J.A. and Benham, T.J., 2008. Iceberg calving rates from northern Ellesmere Island ice caps, Canadian Arctic, 1999-2003. Journal of Glaciology, v. 54, p. 391-400. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0459.2011.00438.x

Bassford, R.P., Siegert, M.J. and Dowdeswell, J.A., 2006. Quantifying the mass balance of ice caps on Severnaya Zemlya, Russian High Arctic. III: Sensitivity of ice caps in Severnaya Zemlya to future climate change. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, v. 38, p. 21-33. doi:10.1657/1523-0430(2006)038[0021:QTMBOI]2.0.CO;2

Bassford, R.P., Siegert, M.J. and Dowdeswell, J.A., 2006. Quantifying the mass balance of ice caps on Severnaya Zemlya, Russian High Arctic. II: Modeling the flow of the Vavilov Ice Cap under the present climate. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, v. 38, p. 13-20. doi:10.1657/1523-0430(2006)038[0013:qtmboi]2.0.co;2

Bassford, R.P., Siegert, M.J., Dowdeswell, J.A., Oerlemans, J., Glazovsky, A.F. and Macheret, Y.Y., 2006. Quantifying the mass balance of ice caps on Severnaya Zemlya, Russian High Arctic. I: Climate and mass balance of the Vavilov Ice Cap. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, v. 38, p. 1-12. doi:10.1657/1523-0430(2006)038[0001:QTMBOI]2.0.CO;2

Burgess, D.O., Sharp, M., Mair, D.W.F., Dowdeswell, J.A. and Benham, T.J., 2005. Flow dynamics and iceberg calving rates of the Devon Ice Cap, Nunavut, Canada. Journal of Glaciology, v. 51, p. 219-230. doi:10.3189/172756505781829430

Dowdeswell, J.A., Benham, T.J., Gorman, M.R., Burgess, D. and Sharp, M.J., 2004. Form and flow of the Devon Island Ice Cap, Canadian Arctic. Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 109, F02002, doi:10.1029/2003JF000095.

Dowdeswell, J.A. and Evans, S., 2004. Investigations of the form and flow of ice sheets and glaciers using radio-echo sounding. Reports on Progress in Physics, v. 67, p. 1821-1861. doi:10.1088/0034-4885/67/10/R03

Benham, T.J. and Dowdeswell, J.A., 2003. A simple visualisation method for distinguishing between subglacial-bed and side-wall returns in radio-echo records from outlet and valley glaciers. Journal of Glaciology, v. 49, p. 463-468. doi:10.3189/172756503781830520

Dowdeswell, J.A., Bassford, R.P., Gorman, M.R., Williams, M., Glazovsky, A.F., Macheret, Y.Y., Shepherd, A.P., Vasilenko, Y.V., Savatyuguin, L.M., Hubberten, H.-W. and Miller, H., 2002. Form and flow of the Academy of Sciences Ice Cap, Severnaya Zemlya, Russian High Arctic. Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 107 – doi:10.1029/2000/JB000129.

Macheret, Y.Y., Glazovsky, A.F., Dowdeswell, J.A. and Gorman, M.R., 2000. Ice cap volume change on Franz Josef Land during the last 40 years. Zeitschrift fur Gletscherkunde unt Glazialgeologie, v. 35, p. 103–116.

Dowdeswell, J.A., Gorman, M.R., Williams, M., Glazovsky, A.F, Macheret, Y.Y., Vasilenko, E.V., Hubberten, H.W., Miller, H. and Savatyugin, L.M., 1998. Airborne radio-echo survey of the ice caps on Severnaya Zemlya, Russian High Arctic. Materialy Glyatsiologicheskikh Issledovaniy, Khronika, v. 84, p. 213-217.

Murray, T., Dowdeswell, J.A., Drewry, D.J. and Frearson, I., 1998. Geometric evolution and ice dynamics during a surge of Bakaninbreen, Svalbard. Journal of Glaciology, v. 44, p. 263-272. doi:10.1017/S0022143000002604

Dowdeswell, J.A., Gorman, M.R., Glazovsky, A.F. and Macheret, Y.Y., 1996. Airborne radio-echo sounding of the ice caps on Franz Josef Land in 1994. Materialy Glyatsiologicheskikh Issledovaniy, Khronika, v. 80, p. 248-254.

Dowdeswell, J.A. and Bamber, J.L., 1995. On the glaciology of Edgeøya and Barentsøya, Svalbard. Polar Research, v. 14, p. 105-122. doi:10.3402/polar.v14i2.6658

Bamber, J.L. and Dowdeswell, J.A., 1990. Remote sensing studies of Kvitøyjokulen: an ice cap on Kvitøya, north-east Svalbard. Journal of Glaciology, v. 36, p. 75-81. doi:10.1017/S002214300000558X

Dowdeswell, J.A. and Drewry, D.J., 1989. The dynamics of Austfonna, Nordaustlandet, Svalbard: surface velocities, mass balance and subglacial meltwater. Annals of Glaciology, v. 12, p. 37-45. doi:10.3189/S0260305500006935

Dowdeswell, J.A., Drewry, D.J., Cooper, A.P.R, Gorman, M.R., Liestøl, O. and Orheim, O., 1986. Digital mapping of the Nordaustlandet ice caps from airborne geophysical investigations. Annals of Glaciology, v. 8, p. 51-58. doi:10.3189/S0260305500001130

Dowdeswell, J.A., 1986c. Drainage-basin characteristics of Nordaustlandet ice caps, Svalbard. Journal of Glaciology, v. 32, p. 31-38. doi:10.3189/S0022143000006845

Dowdeswell, J.A., Drewry D.J., Liestøl, O. and Orheim, O., 1984b. Airborne radio echo sounding of sub-polar glaciers in Spitsbergen. Norsk Polarinstitutt Skrifter, No. 182, 41 pp. ISBN-13 : 978-8290307320

Dowdeswell, J.A., Drewry, D.J., Liestøl, O. and Orheim, O., 1984a. Radio echo-sounding of Spitsbergen glaciers: problems in the interpretation of layer and bottom returns. Journal of Glaciology, v. 30, p. 16-21. doi:10.3189/s0022143000008431

UK NERC research grants that supported Arctic RES data acquisition

(PI: J.A. Dowdeswell, SPRI)

Airborne geophysical investigations of conditions at the bed of fast-flowing outlet glaciers of large Canadian Arctic ice caps PI: J.A. Dowdeswell Funding: Natural Environment Research Council (NE/K004999) £ 573,000 (2013-16).

Airborne geophysical investigations of basal conditions at flow transitions of outlet glaciers on the Greenland Ice Sheet PI: J.A. Dowdeswell Funding: Natural Environment Research Council (NE/H020667) £ 840,000 (2010-16).

Geometry and dynamics of large ice caps in the Canadian High Arctic. PI: J.A. Dowdeswell Funding: Natural Environment Research Council Grant GR3/12469 £ 153,394 (1999-2002).

Ice dynamics and mass flux of Arctic ice caps and the Greenland Ice Sheet using satellite radar interferometry. PIs: D.J. Wingham and J.A. Dowdeswell Funding: Natural Environment Research Council, Grant GST/02/2195. £ 119,376 (1998-2001).

Synthetic aperture radar interferograms to investigate ice dynamics in Svalbard. PIs: D.J. Wingham and J.A. Dowdeswell Funding: Natural Environment Research Council Grant GR3/10498. £ 168,916 (1996-99).

Form and flow of the ice caps on Severnaya Zemlya, Russian High Arctic. PI: J.A. Dowdeswell Funding: Natural Environment Research Council Grant GR3/9958. £ 181,396 (1995-98).

Airborne radar investigations of the Academy of Sciences Ice Cap, Severnaya Zemlya, Russian High Arctic PI: J.A. Dowdeswell Funding: Alfred-Wegener-Institut for Polar Research, Germany £ 28,125 (1997-98)

Ice cap dynamics in the Russian High Arctic. PI: J.A. Dowdeswell Funding: Natural Environment Research Council Grant GR3/8507. £ 143,915 (1992-95).

Measurements and modelling of surging ice caps in Svalbard. PI: J.A. Dowdeswell Funding: Natural Environment Research Council Grant GR3/4663. £ 57,212 (1987-89).

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