Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Aerospace Engineering Sciences

First Advisor

Jeffrey P. Thayer

Second Advisor

Waleed Abdalati

Third Advisor

Tad Pfeffer

Abstract

Integrative remote sensing methods are effective in the study of large heterogeneous phenomena that contribute towards our understanding of global climatological trends. This study focuses upon two climatological subjects of integrative remote sensing techniques: glaciers and noctilucent clouds. Glaciers are considered among the most sensitive observable effects of climate change, whereas noctilucent clouds provide a means to observe the trends of a changing atmospheric composition. Through synchronized aircraft and spacecraft observations, this study verified for the first time that synchronous imagery of noctilucent cloud structures from airborne and spaceborne platforms could be obtained as similar band structures were identified, along with orthogonal structures only perceptible by the aircraft imagers. This helped to validate the processing algorithm at the day-to-night solar terminator of the Cloud Imagery and Particle Size (CIPS) instrument on the NASA Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite. Furthermore, integrative methods were successful in determining the sliding component of glacial motion along the flowlines leading to the Sermeq Avannarleq glacier in Greenland and correlating this component to bedrock topography. Using a combination of airborne, spaceborne, and in-situ measurements, it was found that the initial onset of sliding occurs near the equilibrium line, quickly constituting approximately half of overall motion and increase steadily to the terminus, providing insight to positive feedback mechanisms that could accelerate glacial disintegration.

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