Snow Depth Measurements from an Octo-copter Mounted Radar

We present the evaluation of snow depth measurements that were conducted by an octo-copter mounted radar. The newly integrated radar and aerial platform was field trialed on sea ice near McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. In this trial, a 0.5 km length of snow-covered sea ice was selected for snow depth survey. Radar measurements were conducted as the octo-copter was flying at a height of 15 m and at a constant speed of 2 m/s over uniform sea ice. A separate validation measurement of snow depth along the same length of snow-covered sea ice provided ground truth data that were then used to compare with snow depth estimates from measured radar signals. Comparison between radar and ground truth measurements shows high correlation, at 0.90, between the two sets of snow depth data. Measurement error has a mean of 0.1 cm and standard deviation of 3.1 cm.