Ahmed Wins Student Paper Contest

Lawrence,KS (03-08-2004)

From ITTC News
By Michelle Ward

Nazia Ahmed has won the local round of the student paper contest sponsored by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers). The win allows her to participate in the regional contest later this month. The regional event provides the highest level of competition, since there is no national contest.

Ahmed's paper, "Analysis of the Depth Sounder Radar Data taken in Greenland," details her work in analyzing data taken during field experiments in Greenland.

University of Kansas researchers traveled to Greenland last July as part of the Polar Radar for Ice Sheet Measurements (PRISM) project. PRISM researchers are developing radar and rovers to gather data on the polar ice sheets.

Using data from this trip, Ahmed, a senior in electrical engineering, determined the roughness parameters of bedrock, the solid rock underneath the ice sheets. Determining roughness parameters allows Ahmed to understand the bedrock or basal conditions below the glacier. She can then provide a rough estimate of how much friction there is between the bedrock and the glacier.

Ice streams are fast-moving glaciers. If the basal friction is reduced to a certain point, they can slide across the bedrock faster. Understanding the roughness gives scientists a better idea of how fast ice streams will flow, since knowledge of the roughness of the bedrock determines how much resistance the bedrock will give the ice stream. This also provides a rough estimate of how much ice is sliding across the bottom or just melting away.

The analyzed data will contribute to the understanding of ice dynamics and the global climate system.

Professors Prasad Gogineni, principal investigator of PRISM, Chris Allen, and Pannirselvam Kanagaratnam helped Ahmed prepare her paper. Ahmed follows the success of a trio of former KU undergraduates. James Pingenot won the local contest last year. Travis Plummer and Bharath Parthasarathy won the local and regional contests in the spring of 2002.

Ahmed is one of 24 students and 14 faculty and staff working on the PRISM project at KU's Information and Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC). KU is leading the multi-institutional project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NASA.

Researchers are developing radar to measure ice thickness and determine bedrock conditions. These data from the ice sheets will help scientists analyze the status of polar ice sheets and their possible future impact on sea-level rise. Sea level has risen about 15 cm over the past century, and climate change is likely to accelerate this increase. This would affect the 60 percent of the world's population who live in coastal regions.

For more information, contact ITTC.

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