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Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 57, Issue 6, pp 1267–1277 | Cite as

Detection of crevasses over polar ice shelves using Satellite Laser Altimeter

  • Yan Liu
  • Xiao Cheng
  • FengMing Hui
  • XianWei Wang
  • Fang Wang
  • Cheng Cheng
Research Paper

Abstract

Ice shelf breakups account for most mass loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet as the consequence of the propagation of crevasses (or rift) in response to stress. Thus there is a pressing need for detecting crevasses’ location and depth, to understand the mechanism of calving processes. This paper presents a method of crevasse detection using the ICESat-1/GLAS data. A case study was taken at the Amery Ice Shelf of Antarctica to verify the accuracy of geo-location and depth of crevasses detected. Moreover, based on the limited crevasse points, we developed a method to detect the peak stress points which can be used to track the location of the crack tips and to identify the possible high-risk area where an ice shelf begins to break up. The spatial and temporal distribution of crevasse depth and the spatial distribution of peak stress points of the Amery Ice Shelf were analyzed through 132 tracks in 16 campaign periods of ICESat-1/GLAS between 2003 and 2008. The results showed that the depth of the detected crevasse points ranged from 2 to 31.7 m, which were above the sea level; the crevasse that advected downstream to the front edge of an ice shelf has little possibility to directly result in breakups because the crevasse depth did not show any increasing trend over time; the local stress concentration is distributed mainly in the suture zones on the ice shelves.

Keywords

satellite laser altimeter ICESat-1/GLAS crevasse depth detection ice shelves 

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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiao Cheng
    • 1
    • 2
  • FengMing Hui
    • 1
    • 2
  • XianWei Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fang Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cheng Cheng
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Jointly Sponsored by Beijing Normal University and Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital EarthChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Global Change and Earth System ScienceBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.School of Surveying and Urban Spatial Information ScienceBeijing University of Civil Engineering and ArchitectureBeijingChina

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