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Satellite imagery, a base line for glacier variation study on James Ross Island, Antarctica

  • Pedro Skvarca (a1), Helmut Rott (a2) and Thomas Nagler (a2)

Abstract

Sequential visible and radar satellite imagery is used to document the fluctuations of 39 outlet glaciers on James Ross Island (JRI; 64° S, 58° W), Antarctic Peninsula. The monitoring time interval of 17.4 years extends from late 1975 until early 1993. The study is based on synergistic use of different sensors for monitoring glacier variations. The digitally enhanced Landsat TM images also allowed definition of boundaries between grounded and floating ice within Röhss Bay and detection of ice rumples, resulting in an improved measurement of the areal extent of JRI. In addition to glacier boundaries, the analyzed ERS-1 SAR images provide information on morphological properties of snow and ice. The satellite data show a general glacier retreat since 1975, resulting in clear decrease of overall glacier area on JRI. Of 39 glaciers measured, 33 glaciers retreated in the period 1975–93, 15 of which showed significant retreat in comparison to glacier size. This is in accordance with the pronounced atmospheric-warming trend recorded during the last two decades on the Antarctic Peninsula. The analysis of glacier areas on JRI thus provides a base line for detection of future changes.

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References

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Satellite imagery, a base line for glacier variation study on James Ross Island, Antarctica

  • Pedro Skvarca (a1), Helmut Rott (a2) and Thomas Nagler (a2)

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