Pine Island Glacier is one of the major ice streams draining West Antarctica. We calculated average velocities for both its grounded and floating parts by tracking crevasses and other patterns moving with the ice on two sequential images acquired in February and December 1992 by ERS-1 SAR (European Remote-Sensing Satellite, Synthetic Aperture Radar). Velocities in the fast-moving central parts of the glacier range from about 1.3 km a−1 on the grounded part to about 2.6 km a−1on the floating part. Velocity increases rapidly just below the grounding line. For the floating part, velocities are approximately 0.3 km a−1 faster than previously established from Landsat images by other workers. This observation suggests that the discharge is larger and, therefore, the mass balance less positive than previously thought; however, our study also shows that current information is insufficient to allow for precise mass-balance calculations. Images of the glacier front show that a calving event released an iceberg about 5 km wide between February and December 1992. The position of the glacier front has not changed substantially between 1973 (Landsat image) and 1992 (ERS-1 images).
|Title||Velocities and mass balance of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, derived from ERS-1 SAR images|
|Authors||Baerbel K. Lucchitta, Christina E. Rosanova, K.F. Mullins|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Annals of Glaciology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Astrogeology Science Center|