Skip to main content Accessibility help

Velocities of the Amery Ice Shelf's primary tributary glaciers, 2004–12

  • M.L. Pittard (a1) (a2), J.L. Roberts (a2) (a3), C.S. Watson (a4), B.K. Galton-Fenzi (a2) (a3), R.C. Warner (a2) (a3) and R. Coleman (a1) (a2)...


Monitoring the rate of ice flow into ice shelves is vital to understanding how, where and when mass changes occur in Antarctica. Previous observations of ice surface velocity indicate that the Amery Ice Shelf and tributary glaciers have been relatively stable over the period 1968 to 1999. This study measured the displacement of features on the ice surface over a sequence of Landsat 7 images separated by approximately one year and spanning 2004 to 2012 using the surface feature tracking software IMCORR. The focus is on the region surrounding the southern grounding zone of the Amery Ice Shelf and its primary tributary glaciers: the Fisher, Lambert and Mellor glaciers. No significant changes in surface velocity were observed over this period. Accordingly, the velocity fields from each image pair between 2004 and 2012 were used to synthesize an average velocity dataset of the Amery Ice Shelf region and to compare it to previously published velocity datasets and in situ global positioning system velocity observations. No significant change in ice surface velocities was found between 2004 and 2012 in the Amery Ice Shelf region, which suggests that it continues to remain stable.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Allison, I. 1979. The mass budget of the Lambert Glacier drainage basin Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 22, 223235.
Bindschadler, R., Choi, H., Wichlacz, A., Bingham, R., Bohlander, J., Brunt, K., Corr, H., Drews, R., Fricker, H., Hall, M., Hindmarsh, R., Kohler, J., Padman, L., Rack, W., Rotschky, G., Urbini, S., Vornberger, P. & Young, N. 2011. Getting around Antarctica: new high-resolution mappings of the grounded and freely-floating boundaries of the Antarctic ice sheet created for the International Polar Year. Cryosphere, 5, 10.5194/tc-5-569-2011.
Boening, C., Lebsock, M., Landerer, F. & Stephens, G. 2012. Snowfall-driven mass change on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Geophysical Research Letters, 39, 10.1029/2012GL053316.
Budd, W., Corry, M. & Jacka, T. 1982. Results from the Amery Ice Shelf project. Annals of Glaciology, 3, 3641.
Dupont, T.K. & Alley, R.B. 2005. Assessment of the importance of ice-shelf buttressing to ice-sheet flow. Geophysical Research Letters, 32, 10.1029/2004GL022024.
Fretwell, P., Pritchard, H.D., Vaughan, D.G., et al. 2013. BEDMAP2: improved ice bed, surface and thickness datasets for Antarctica. Cryosphere, 7, 10.5194/tc-7-375-2013.
Frezzotti, M., Capra, A. & Vittuari, L. 1998. Comparison between glacier ice velocities inferred from GPS and sequential satellite images. Annals of Glaciology, 27, 5460.
Fricker, H.A., Allison, I., Craven, M., Hyland, G., Ruddell, A., Young, N., Coleman, R., King, M., Krebs, K. & Popov, S. 2002. Redefinition of the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, grounding zone. Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, 107, 10.1029/2001JB000383.
Galton-Fenzi, B. 2009. Modelling ice-shelf/ocean interaction. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania, 97–101. [Unpublished].
Galton-Fenzi, B.K., Maraldi, C., Coleman, R. & Hunter, J. 2008. The cavity under the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 54, 881887.
Galton-Fenzi, B.K., Hunter, J.R., Coleman, R., Marsland, S.J. & Warner, R.C. 2012. Modeling the basal melting and marine ice accretion of the Amery Ice Shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 117, 10.1029/2012JC008214.
Gray, A.L., Short, N., Mattar, K.E. & Jezek, K.C. 2001. Velocities and flux of the Filchner Ice Shelf and its tributaries determined from speckle tracking interferometry. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, 27, 193206.
Höhle, J. & Höhle, M. 2009. Accuracy assessment of digital elevation models by means of robust statistical methods. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 64, 398406.
Holland, P.R., Jenkins, A. & Holland, D.M. 2008. The response of ice shelf basal melting to variations in ocean temperature. Journal of Climate, 21, 10.1175/2007JCLI1909.1.
Jezek, K.C. 2003. Observing the Antarctic ice sheet using the RADARSAT-1 synthetic aperture radar. Polar Geography, 27, 10.1080/789610167.
Joughin, I. 2002. Ice-sheet velocity mapping: a combined interferometric and speckle-tracking approach. Annals of Glaciology, 34, 195201.
King, M.A., Coleman, R., Morgan, P.J. & Hurd, R.S. 2007. Velocity change of the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, during the period 1968–1999. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, 112, 10.1029/2006JF000609.
King, M.A., Bingham, R.J., Moore, P., Whitehouse, P.L., Bentley, M.J. & Milne, G.A. 2012. Lower satellite-gravimetry estimates of Antarctic sea-level contribution. Nature, 491, 10.1038/nature11621.
King, M.A., Coleman, R., Freemantle, A.-J., Fricker, H.A., Hurd, R.S., Legresy, B., Padman, L. & Warner, R. 2009. A 4-decade record of elevation change of the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface, 114, 10.1029/2008JF001094.
König, M., Winther, J.G. & Isaksson, E. 2001. Measuring snow and glacier ice properties from satellite. Reviews of Geophysics, 39, 10.1029/1999RG000076.
Krinner, G., Magand, O., Simmonds, I., Genthon, C. & Dufresne, J.-L. 2007. Simulated Antarctic precipitation and surface mass balance at the end of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Climate Dynamics, 28, 215230.
Lucchitta, B.K., Mullins, K.F., Allison, A.L. & Ferrigno, J.G. 1993. Antarctic glacier-tongue velocities from Landsat images: first results. Annals of Glaciology, 17, 356366.
Monaghan, A.J., Bromwich, D.H., Fogt, R.L., Wang, S., Mayewski, P.A., Dixon, D.A., Ekaykin, A., Frezzotti, M., Goodwin, I., Isaksson, E., Kaspari, S.D., Morgan, V.I., Oerter, H., van Ommen, T.D., van der Veen, C.J. & Wen, J.H. 2006. Insignificant change in Antarctic snowfall since the International Geophysical Year. Science, 313, 10.1126/science.1128243.
Mouginot, J., Scheuchl, B. & Rignot, E. 2012. Mapping of ice motion in Antarctica using synthetic-aperture radar data. Remote Sensing, 4, 10.3390/rs4092753.
Pritchard, H.D., Ligtenberg, S.R.M., Fricker, H.A., Vaughan, D.G., van den Broeke, M.R. & Padman, L. 2012. Antarctic ice-sheet loss driven by basal melting of ice shelves. Nature, 484, 10.1038/nature10968.
Rignot, E. & Jacobs, S.S. 2002. Rapid bottom melting widespread near Antarctic ice sheet grounding lines. Science, 296, 10.1126/science.1070942.
Rignot, E., Mouginot, J. & Scheuchl, B. 2011a. Ice flow of the Antarctic ice sheet. Science, 333, 10.1126/science.1208336.
Rignot, E., Mouginot, J. & Scheuchl, B. 2011b. MEaSUREs InSAR-based Antarctica ice velocity map (900 m). Boulder, CO: NASA DAAC at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, 10.5067/MEASURES/CRYOSPHERE/nsidc-0484.001.
Scambos, T.A. & Bindschadler, R. 1993. Complex ice stream flow revealed by sequential satellite imagery. Annals of Glaciology, 17, 177182.
Scambos, T.A., Bohlander, J.A., Shuman, C.A. & Skvarca, P. 2004. Glacier acceleration and thinning after ice shelf collapse in the Larsen B embayment, Antarctica. Geophysical Research Letters, 31, 10.1029/2004GL020670.
Scambos, T.A., Dutkiewicz, M.J., Wilson, J.C. & Bindschadler, R.A. 1992. Application of image cross-correlation to the measurement of glacier velocity using satellite image data. Remote Sensing of Environment, 42, 177186.
Shepherd, A., Wingham, D. & Rignot, E. 2004. Warm ocean is eroding West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Geophysical Research Letters, 31, 10.1029/2004GL021106.
Shepherd, A., Ivins, E.R., Geruo, A., et al. 2012. A reconciled estimate of ice-sheet mass balance. Science, 338, 10.1126/science.1228102.
Warner, R.C. & Roberts, J.L. 2013. Pine Island Glacier (Antarctica) velocities from Landsat7 images between 2001 and 2011: FFT-based image correlation for images with data gaps. Journal of Glaciology, 59, 10.3189/2013JoG12J113.
Wen, J., Wang, Y., Liu, J.Y., Jezek, K.C., Huybrechts, P., Csatho, B.M., Farness, K.L. & Bo, S. 2008. Mass budget of the grounded ice in the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system. Annals of Glaciology, 48, 193197.
Young, N.W. & Hyland, G. 2002. Velocity and strain rates derived from InSAR analysis over the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 34, 228234.
Yu, J., Liu, H., Jezek, K.C., Warner, R.C. & Wen, J.H. 2010. Analysis of velocity field, mass balance, and basal melt of the Lambert Glacier-Amery Ice Shelf system by incorporating Radarsat SAR interferometry and ICESat laser altimetry measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, 115, 10.1029/2010JB007456.


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Pittard supplementary material
Pittard supplementary material 1

 PDF (5.8 MB)
5.8 MB

Velocities of the Amery Ice Shelf's primary tributary glaciers, 2004–12

  • M.L. Pittard (a1) (a2), J.L. Roberts (a2) (a3), C.S. Watson (a4), B.K. Galton-Fenzi (a2) (a3), R.C. Warner (a2) (a3) and R. Coleman (a1) (a2)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed