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Response of Mertz Glacier, East Antarctica, to tidal forcing

Anja Poetzsch(1) and R Dietrich(1)

(1) TU Dresden, Mommsenstr. 13, 01062 Dresden, Germany


The Mertz Glacier in East Antarctica is characterized by an ice tongue which extends 140 km into the southern ocean. We used ERS SAR interferometry, ERS altimetry and GPS measurements to investigate the reaction of this ice tongue to the forcing of ocean tides and air pressure changes. In addition to the well known vertical movement due to tides and air pressure changes, a lateral as well as a longitudinal response of the ice tongue to tidal forcing were observed. The lateral movement of the ice tongue with the tides can be modelled by a horizontal bending induced by a tidal current parallel to the coast. The modulation of the flow velocity could be related to a changing stress regime during the tidal cycle. We will present our observation material and compare it with the modelling based on the ocean tide model FES99 and air pressure date from a nearby automatic weather station.


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry