IEDA
Project Information
Antarctic Submarine Melt Variability from Remote Sensing of Icebergs
Short Title:
Antarctic Iceberg Melting
Start Date:
2019-05-01
End Date:
2022-04-30
Description/Abstract
The project uses repeat, very high-resolution (~0.5 m pixel width and length) satellite images acquired by the WorldView satellites, to estimate rates of iceberg melting in key coastal regions around Antarctica. The satellite images are used to construct maps of iceberg surface elevation change over time, which are converted to estimates of area-averaged submarine melt rates. Where ocean temperature observations are available, the melt rates are compared to these data to determine if variations in ocean temperature can explain observed iceberg melt variability. The iceberg melt rates are also compared to glacier frontal ablation rates (flow towards the terminus minus changes in terminus position over time) and integrated into a numerical ice flow model in order to assess the importance of submarine melting on recent changes in terminus position, ice flow, and dynamic mass loss. Overall, the analysis will yield insights into the effects of changes in ocean forcing on the submarine melting of Antarctic ice shelves and icebergs. The project does not require field work in Antarctica.
Personnel
Person Role
Enderlin, Ellyn Investigator and contact
Funding
Antarctic Glaciology Award # 1933764
Antarctic Glaciology Award # 1643455
Antarctic Submarine Melt Variability from Remote Sensing of Icebergs

Enderlin/1643455

This award supports a project that will use a novel remote sensing method, which was initially developed to investigate melting of icebergs around Greenland, to examine spatial and temporal variations in ocean forcing around the Antarctic ice sheet periphery. Nearly three-quarters of the Antarctic ice sheet is fringed by regions of floating glacier ice called ice shelves. These ice shelves play an important role in modulating the flow of ice from the ice sheet interior towards the coast, similar to how dams regulate the downstream flow of water from reservoirs. Therefore, a reduction in ice shelf size due to changing air and ocean temperatures can have serious implications for the flux of glacier ice reaching the Antarctic coast, and thus, sea level change. Observations of recent ocean warming in the Amundsen Sea, thinning of the ice shelves, and increased ice flux from the West Antarctic ice sheet interior suggests that ice shelf destabilization triggered by ocean warming may already be underway in some regions. Although detailed observations are available in the Amundsen Sea region, our understanding of spatial and temporal variations in ocean conditions and their influence on ice shelf stability is limited by the scarceness of observations spanning the ice sheet periphery. The project will yield insights into variability in the submarine melting of ice shelves and will help advance the career of a female early-career scientist in a male-dominated field.

The project will use repeat, very high-resolution (~0.5 m pixel width and length) satellite images acquired by the WorldView satellites, to estimate rates of iceberg melting in key coastal regions around Antarctica. The satellite images will be used to construct maps of iceberg surface elevation, which will be differenced in time to derive time series of iceberg volume change and area-averaged melt rates. Where ocean data are available, the melt rates will be compared to these data to assess whether variations in ocean temperature can explain observed iceberg melt variability. Large spatial gradients in melt rates will be compared to estimates of iceberg drift rates, which will be inferred from the repeat satellite images as well as numerically modeled drift rates produced by (unfunded) collaborators, to quantify the effects of water shear on iceberg melt rates. Spatial and temporal patterns in iceberg melting will also be compared to independently derived ice shelf thickness datasets. Overall, the analysis should yield insights into the effects of changes in ocean forcing on the submarine melting of Antarctic ice shelves and icebergs. The project does not require field work in Antarctica.

AMD - DIF Record(s)
Data Management Plan
None in the Database
Product Level:
0 (raw data)
Platforms and Instruments

This project has been viewed 3 times since May 2019 (based on unique date-IP combinations)