Dr. Winebrenners’ interests are in the physics of light and radio waves, and in the exploration of icy environments on Earth and elsewhere based on that physics.
For sea ice, he has developed a physically based method to observe the springtime melting and fall freeze-up transitions on Arctic sea ice using synthetic aperture radar, and has shown that polarimetric microwave backscattering from thin sea ice depends on ice thickness and thus may be useful for remote thickness estimation. Recently he has investigated the optical fluorescence from chlorophyll in sea ice, with the aim of estimating phototrophic biomass near the ice-water interface. Microwave emissions are used to map (decadal-scale) mean surface temperature and accumulation rate fields, for ice sheet on both Greenland and Antarctica.
Most recently, Dale Winebrenner has begun to investigate meter-wavelength radar sounding of ice sheets. The first result of this work is a new means of estimating electromagnetic absorption within the ice sheet.