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Northern Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica: further retreat after collapse

  • Helmut Rott (a1), Wolfgang Rack (a1), Pedro Skvarca (a2) and Hernán De Angelis (a2)

Abstract

Changes of Larsen Ice Shelf, Antarctica, and the surrounding glaciers after its collapse in 1995 were investigated using satellite radar imagery, with emphasis on changes in the glaciers which previously nourished the ice shelf north of Seal Nunataks and now calve directly into the sea. The large glaciers retreated several kilometres inland of the previous grounding line. The velocity field of Drygalski Glacier, the largest glacier in this area, was mapped by means of interferograms derived from pairs of European Remote-sensing Satellite synthetic aperture radar images from 1995 and 1999. The main part of the glacier showed a significant acceleration of flow over these 4 years, with an increase of velocity up to three-fold at the terminus. Similar accelerations were observed by means of interferometry on several other grounded glaciers, suggesting that the removal of ice shelves could lead to an effect on eustatic sea level. For Larsen B, the northernmost surviving part of Larsen Ice Shelf, the retreat of the ice front to October 2000 is documented.

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References

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