University of Tasmania

File(s) not publicly available

Aerial imaging of sea ice with LiDAR and photos

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 12:40 authored by Jan LieserJan Lieser
An integrated airborne imaging system with scanning LiDAR (Light Detecting And Ranging) and high resolution, digital aerial photography is used by the Australian Antarctic Program for various purposes, in East Antarctica. One of the main objectives is the measurement of surface elevation of sea ice (ice freeboard) and glacial ice to estimate its thickness. To understand the effects and feedbacks of a changing climate in polar regions information on the rate of change of ice thickness is vital. Large-scale coverage of the East Antarctic ice sheet, ice shelves, and the sea ice zone is currently very sparse, with latterly relying on satellite altimetry measurements that are unvalidated and uncalibrated. We describe the combined instrument system and present in-situ results acquired over sea ice in the vicinity of 122° East, 65° South. Validation of the airborne surface elevation data is done by drill-hole measurements of sea ice freeboard and shows agreement to within the centimetre-level. This allows confidence to use the system for large-scale aerial surveys (up to 200 km range) to calibrate and validate space-borne sea ice thickness products, for example from CryoSat-2.


Publication title

Strategic Science in Antarctica conference program


Strategic Science in Antarctica Program Committee


Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctica New Zealand

Place of publication

Hobart, Tasmania

Event title

Strategic Science in Antarctica

Event Venue

Hobart, Tasmania

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Effects of climate change on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments (excl. social impacts)

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania


    Ref. manager