Acoustic characterization of submarine geomorphological features in the Polar Oceans
Sammanfattning: Marine glacial environments contain unique seafloor features resulting from the dynamic glacial processes. Studying these submarine geomorphological features can help us understand the glacial paleo-environments so that we can predict the likely responses of present day glaciers and ice sheets to future changes in the climate. This thesis details different approaches in understanding glacial seafloor features using acoustic systems. It focuses on the novel technique of automated mapping seafloor properties using the backscatter intensity collected by acoustic multibeam echosounder systems (MBES). The aim of this thesis is to assess the potential of this unexploited data source in characterizing different glacial landforms in the polar oceans. This is done by examining the voluminous backscatter data collected by Swedish icebreaker Oden from different cruises to the polar oceans and employing an automated backscatter processing technique, the ARA algorithm, to extract surficial sediment characteristics. The results from the sediment characterization are used together with outputs from other marine acoustical systems and sediment core data to understand formational processes of the glacial submarine features. Operational issues encountered in using this technology and its viability as a tool in characterization of glacial seafloor features are discussed and suggestions are given on the improvements needed to effectively implement the method in future studies. The final part of the manuscript is a paper, published in Geo-marine Letters, where I and my co-authors show a practical application of the acoustic systems ability to characterize geomorphological features of a mass-wasting event in the deepest part of the Arctic, the Molloy Hole.
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