Ice dynamics of union glacier from SAR offset tracking

Rodrigo Gomez*, Jorge Arigony-Neto, Angela De Santis, Saurabh Vijay, Ricardo Jaña, Andres Rivera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

The Antarctic ice sheet is predicted to be the major contributor to sea-level rise during the XXI century. Therefore, monitoring ice dynamics of outlet glaciers in Antarctica is of great importance to assess future sea-level rise predictions. Union Glacier is one of the major outlet glaciers of the Ellsworth Mountains and drains into the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf. Glaciers can be studied using remote-sensing techniques, which combined with field measurements can deliver a good approximation of its dynamics and can be used as input for glacier models. In this study we acquired high resolution Stripmap HIMAGE SAR images from the COSMO-SkyMed satellite constellation during austral summer of 2011–2012, and applied a SAR offset tracking algorithm to compute ice velocities. Then, we compared our derived velocities with field data already published. Results showed mean values of ice velocity estimated for the main trunk of the glacier are 0.043 (0.0393 SD) m d−1, with values reaching up to 0.325 m d−1, in agreement with previous studies. A model of ice thickness based on lamellar flow theory is proposed, using estimated surface ice velocity in combination with surface slope derived from TanDEM-X as input data. Comparison of our modeled ice thickness with radar data agree with a mean absolute deviation of 19.22%. From surface ice velocities we computed principal strain rates in order to assess crevasse formation and closure. Thereafter, using high resolution COSMO-SkyMed Spotlight-2 SAR images we establish a relation between surface features and acting strain components.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Volume174
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
ISSN0921-8181
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Glaciology
  • Union Glacier Antarctica
  • Glacier ice dynamics
  • SAR offset tracking
  • Ice thickness
  • Glacier strain rate

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