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Changes in a Giant Iceberg Created from the Collapse of the Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, Derived from Sentinel-1 and CryoSat-2 Data

Unit of Arctic Sea-Ice Prediction, Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI), Incheon 21990, Korea
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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(4), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11040404
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 17 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Target Detection in Marine Environment)
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Abstract

The giant tabular iceberg A68 broke away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, in July 2017. The evolution of A68 would have been affected by both the Larsen C Ice Shelf, the surrounding sea ice, and the nearby shallow seafloor. In this study, we analyze the initial evolution of iceberg A68A—the largest originating from A68—in terms of changes in its area, drift speed, rotation, and freeboard using Sentinel-1 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images and CryoSat-2 SAR/Interferometric Radar Altimeter observations. The area of iceberg A68A sharply decreased in mid-August 2017 and mid-May 2018 via large calving events. In September 2018, its surface area increased, possibly due to its longitudinal stretching by melting of surrounding sea ice. The decrease in the area of A68A was only 2% over 1.5 years. A68A was relatively stationary until mid-July 2018, while it was surrounded by the Larsen C Ice Shelf front and a high concentration of sea ice, and when its movement was interrupted by the shallow seabed. The iceberg passed through a bay-shaped region in front of the Larsen C Ice Shelf after July 2018, showing a nearly circular motion with higher speed and greater rotation. Drift was mainly inherited from its rotation, because it was still located near the Bawden Ice Rise and could not pass through by the shallow seabed. The freeboard of iceberg A68A decreased at an average rate of −0.80 ± 0.29 m/year during February–November 2018, which could have been due to basal melting by warm seawater in the Antarctic summer and increasing relative velocity of iceberg and ocean currents in the winter of that year. The freeboard of the iceberg measured using CryoSat-2 could represent the returned signal from the snow surface on the iceberg. Based on this, the average rate of thickness change was estimated at −12.89 ± 3.34 m/year during the study period considering an average rate of snow accumulation of 0.82 ± 0.06 m/year predicted by reanalysis data from the Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2). The results of this study reveal the initial evolution mechanism of iceberg A68A, which cannot yet drift freely due to the surrounding terrain and sea ice. View Full-Text
Keywords: iceberg A68A; Larsen C Ice Shelf; Antarctic Peninsula; Sentinel-1; CryoSat-2; MERRA-2 iceberg A68A; Larsen C Ice Shelf; Antarctic Peninsula; Sentinel-1; CryoSat-2; MERRA-2
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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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Han, H.; Lee, S.; Kim, J.-I.; Kim, S.H.; Kim, H.-C. Changes in a Giant Iceberg Created from the Collapse of the Larsen C Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula, Derived from Sentinel-1 and CryoSat-2 Data. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 404.

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