Glacier Stress Pattern as an Indicator for Climate Change

  • Ashit Kumar SwainEmail author


Response of glaciers and Polar ice sheet to ongoing climate change is of global concern as the ice mass in the region can impact the earth system adversely. The crevasses formed as a response of the stress pattern to surface slope, bedrock slope and ice mass thickness in the glaciers, indicate the trend of the climate change. The stress patterns were studied on the Polar ice sheet near Schirmacher Oasis in central Dronning Maud Land of East Antarctica. These studies were carried out by estimating the bedrock slope and ice thickness using Ground Penetrating Radar along with surface elevation, surface slope and bedrock elevation estimation. The surface elevation and surface slope of the Polar ice sheet of Antarctica near the Schirmacher Oasis show gradual increase towards southwest from northeast. The study area to the south of the eastern Schirmacher Oasis shows a variation of stress in the range of 25–100 kPa. The change in the stress pattern is not abrupt in the Polar ice sheet. The variation of stress is less in the study area, with a large tract in the central part showing less stress. There is an elongated zone of moderate stress with a trend of ENE – WSW observed towards the northern part and close to the Schirmacher Oasis – Polar ice sheet margin. The crevasse pattern in the study area shows an intimate link with the glacial stress in the region, for which repeat observations are required frequently to understand the influence of climate change.


Glacier stress Ice thickness Surface slope Bedrock slope Crevasse pattern Polar ice sheet 



The author thanks the Director General, Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Director, National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) for permission to work in Antarctica during the winter period of 27th Indian Antarctic Expedition (IAE) as well as the summer period of 29th, 30th, 32nd, 34th and 36th expeditions. He is grateful to Shri Arun Chaturvedi, leader of 27th IAE, for supporting and guiding him throughout the polar winter period in Antarctica as well as the leaders of the subsequent expeditions for facilitating the work for the studies on Polar ice sheet. He also acknowledges the logistic support provided by the staff and fellow expedition members at Maitri station. The Director and officers of Polar Studies Division are acknowledged for providing assistance in the work at headquarters. The guidance of Prof. S. Goswami, Sambalpur University and the support of Dr. Reenu Joshi, GSI in writing this manuscript are acknowledged. The author also expresses his gratitude to the anonymous reviewer for valuable comments in the upgradation of the manuscript.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geological Survey of IndiaGangtokIndia

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