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Recent Deceleration of the Ice Elevation Change of Ecology Glacier (King George Island, Antarctica)

Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Księcia Janusza 64, 01-452 Warsaw, Poland
Glaciology Laboratory, Centro de Estudios Cientificos (CECs), Av. Arturo Prat 514, 5110466 Valdivia, Chile
Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Aridas, Raul Bitran 1305, 1720010 La Serena, Chile
Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Pawińskiego 5a, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics (IDYST), University of Lausanne, Géopolis, Quartier Mouline, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(6), 520;
Received: 2 March 2017 / Revised: 13 May 2017 / Accepted: 17 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Glaciers)
PDF [7065 KB, uploaded 27 May 2017]


Glacier change studies in the Antarctic Peninsula region, despite their importance for global sea level rise, are commonly restricted to the investigation of frontal position changes. Here we present a long term (37 years; 1979–2016) study of ice elevation changes of the Ecology Glacier, King George Island ( 62 11 S, 58 29 W). The glacier covers an area of 5.21 km 2 and is located close to the H. Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station, and therefore has been an object of various multidisciplinary studies with subject ranging from glaciology, meteorology to glacial microbiology. Hence, it is of great interest to assess its current state and put it in a broader context of recent glacial change. In order to achieve that goal, we conducted an analysis of archival cartographic material and combined it with field measurements of proglacial lagoon hydrography and state-of-art geodetic surveying of the glacier surface with terrestrial laser scanning and satellite imagery. Overall mass loss was largest in the beginning of 2000s, and the rate of elevation change substantially decreased between 2012–2016, with little ice front retreat and no significant surface lowering. Ice elevation change rate for the common ablation area over all analyzed periods (1979–2001–2012–2016) has decreased from −1.7 ± 0.4 m/year in 1979–2001 and −1.5 ± 0.5 m/year in 2001–2012 to −0.5 ± 0.6 m/year in 2012–2016. This reduction of ice mass loss is likely related to decreasing summer temperatures in this region of the Antarctic Peninsula. View Full-Text
Keywords: glaciology; ice elevation change; glacial retreat; DEM; Terrestrial Laser Scanning; Antarctica; South Shetland Islands glaciology; ice elevation change; glacial retreat; DEM; Terrestrial Laser Scanning; Antarctica; South Shetland Islands

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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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Pętlicki, M.; Sziło, J.; MacDonell, S.; Vivero, S.; Bialik, R.J. Recent Deceleration of the Ice Elevation Change of Ecology Glacier (King George Island, Antarctica). Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 520.

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