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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(9), 1445; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10091445

Remote Sensing of Antarctic Glacier and Ice-Shelf Front Dynamics—A Review

1
German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD), German Aerospace Center (DLR), Muenchner Strasse 20, D-82234 Wessling, Germany
2
Department of Remote Sensing, Institute of Geography and Geology, University Wuerzburg, Am Huband, D-97074 Wuerzburg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 June 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
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Abstract

The contribution of Antarctica’s ice sheet to global sea-level rise depends on the very dynamic behavior of glaciers and ice shelves. One important parameter of ice-sheet dynamics is the location of glacier and ice-shelf fronts. Numerous remote sensing studies on Antarctic glacier and ice-shelf front positions exist, but no long-term record on circum-Antarctic front dynamics has been established so far. The article outlines the potential of remote sensing to map, extract, and measure calving front dynamics. Furthermore, this review provides an overview of the spatial and temporal availability of Antarctic calving front observations for the first time. Single measurements are compiled to a circum-Antarctic record of glacier and ice shelf retreat/advance. We find sufficient frontal records for the Antarctic Peninsula and Victoria Land, whereas on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), measurements only concentrate on specific glaciers and ice sheets. Frontal records for the East Antarctic Ice Sheet exist since the 1970s. Studies agree on the general retreat of calving fronts along the Antarctic Peninsula. East Antarctic calving fronts also showed retreating tendencies between 1970s until the early 1990s, but have advanced since the 2000s. Exceptions of this general trend are Victoria Land, Wilkes Land, and the northernmost Dronning Maud Land. For the WAIS, no clear trend in long-term front fluctuations could be identified, as observations of different studies vary in space and time, and fronts highly fluctuate. For further calving front analysis, regular mapping intervals as well as glacier morphology should be included. We propose to exploit current and future developments in Earth observations to create frequent standardized measurements for circum-Antarctic assessments of glacier and ice-shelf front dynamics in regard to ice-sheet mass balance and climate forcing. View Full-Text
Keywords: Antarctica; calving front location (CFL); glacier terminus; ice shelf; glacier extent; ice front; remote sensing; earth observation; review; antarctic peninsula Antarctica; calving front location (CFL); glacier terminus; ice shelf; glacier extent; ice front; remote sensing; earth observation; review; antarctic peninsula
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Baumhoer, C.A.; Dietz, A.J.; Dech, S.; Kuenzer, C. Remote Sensing of Antarctic Glacier and Ice-Shelf Front Dynamics—A Review. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1445.

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