Many researchers regard sea ice thickness as an important indicator of climate change. Australia’s Antarctic Program recently began using LiDAR to measure the elevation and surface roughness of sea ice in the East Antarctic sea ice zone.
Sea ice extent and concentration is routinely monitored from space, but it is unknown whether changes are occurring in thickness distribution. By determining the elevation of the ice relative to the water estimates of the freeboard can be made. These can be used along with other factors to determine total ice thickness.
The Antarctic Program researchers are finding LiDAR to be a versatile remote sensing technology.