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Mapping the grounding zone of Ross Ice Shelf using ICESat laser altimetry

January 1, 2010

We use laser altimetry from the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) to map the grounding zone (GZ) of the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, at 491 locations where ICESat tracks cross the grounding line (GL). Ice flexure in the GZ occurs as the ice shelf responds to short-term sea-level changes due primarily to tides. ICESat repeat-track analysis can be used to detect this region of flexure since each repeated pass is acquired at a different tidal phase; the technique provides estimates for both the landward limit of flexure and the point where the ice becomes hydrostatically balanced. We find that the ICESat-derived landward limits of tidal flexure are, in many places, offset by several km (and up to ∼60 km) from the GL mapped previously using other satellite methods. We discuss the reasons why different mapping methods lead to different GL estimates, including: instrument limitations; variability in the surface topographic structure of the GZ; and the presence of ice plains. We conclude that reliable and accurate mapping of the GL is most likely to be achieved when based on synthesis of several satellite datasets

Publication Year 2010
Title Mapping the grounding zone of Ross Ice Shelf using ICESat laser altimetry
DOI 10.3189/172756410791392790
Authors Kelly M. Brunt, Helen A. Fricker, Laurie Padman, Ted A. Scambos, Shad O'Neel
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Annals of Glaciology
Index ID 70073506
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse