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Barrow Land Based Radar Animation

The animation files linked below were acquired by a land-based 10 kW X-band radar system near Barrow between 2003 and 2005 as part of Andy Mahoney's PhD Thesis work. Analysis of these data and other observations are presented in a 2007 Cold Regions Science and Technology paper [ Mahoney et al., 2007].

Sea ice can be detected at ranges of up to about 10km (6 miles). Radar signals are reflected by rough ice, which appears as bright areas in these images. Sea ice ridges appear as lines of bright reflections. Buildings, fences and cars on land also return strong signals. The absence of a signal does not necessarily mean the absence of rough ice, since ice ridges can create shadow zones as illustrated below.

Sea Ice Radar Signals and Shadows

Images were captured every 5 minutes and the animations show the dynamics of sea ice motion near the coast during different events in the annual cycle of the landfast near Barrow. Each radar animation contains annotations explaining the processes occuring. Also linked below are "flicker image" animations. These are created by calculating the net difference between 3 consecutive images and are useful for highlighting the occurence of target flickering in the original animations. Flickering often occurs shortly before landfast ice detaches from the shore and it is hoped that it can be used to predict iminent break-out events.

The radar system was purchased with an award from the Center for Global Change Student Research Grant Competetion (2003) and was operated and maintained with help from the Barrow Arctic Research Consourtium and the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation Science Division. The study was also funded in part by the National Science Foundation* (OPP-9910888)

Further information on data collection, results etc. can be found in the following publications: Mahoney, A., H. Eicken and L. Shapiro, 2006, Alaska Landfast Sea Ice Dynamics, PhD Thesis, 152 pp, University of Alaksa Fairbanks, AK.

*Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Viewing the animations requires Quicktime Player, which can be downloaded from here.

Radar Data (filenames indicate the date range of the data)

Landfast ice formation, November 2003: SIR_20031123-1128.mp4 (1.5 MB)

"Freight train", January 2004: SIR_20040103-0105.mp4 (4.0 MB)

"Compactor", March 2004: SIR_20040318-0325.mp4 (5.1 MB)

Landfast ice break-up, June 2004: SIR_20040611-0623.mp4 (7.1 MB)

Landfast ice formation, November 2004: SIR_20041029-1114.mp4 (15.7 MB)

Landfast ice break-up, July 2005: SIR_20050706-0715.mp4 (7.0 MB)

Flickering animations (filenames indicate the date of the data)

Flickering March 19, 2004: Flick_20040319.mp4 (0.4 MB)

Flickering March 25, 2004: Flick_20040426.mp4 (0.9 MB)