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Velocities of Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers, West Antarctica, From ERS-1 SAR images (Lucchitta et al.)
Antarctica on sequential ERS SAR images: Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers.
Velocities of Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers,
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Antarctica on sequential ERS SAR images: Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers.



Baerbel K. Lucchitta and Christine E. Rosanova          United States Geological
 
Survey, 2255 N. Gemini Dr., Flagstaff, AZ, 86001 blucchitta@flagmail.wr.usgs.gov
                
                
Abstract

The Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers drain about one fifth of the marine 
West Antarctic Ice Sheet.  They are sensitive to climate warming because 
they are grounded well below sea level and are not buttressed by extensive 
ice shelves.  Thus they are susceptible to surging  and invasion by sea 
water, which could aid in the disintegration of the ice sheet.  Feature 
tracking has provided new velocity data.  On the terminus of the Pine Island 
Glacier, velocities reach as much as 2.8 km/yr, as measured during two 
separate intervals ranging from February 1992 to March 1994.  These 
velocities are about 0.4 km/yr higher than those calculated from older 
Landsat images.  The velocities for the fastest moving central parts of the 
Thwaites Glacier range from about 2.2 km/yr just above the grounding line to 
around 3 km/yr in the proximal glacier tongue to 3.3 km/yr at the limit of 
measurements on the tongue, as determined during three separate intervals 
ranging from March 1992 to November 1995.  Again, the velocities are about 
0.5 km/yr higher than those calculated from older Landsat images.  The 
increase could be related to surging of the glacier or loss, in 1986, of its 
previously lodged tongue.  The loss of the tongue coincided with a general 
and persistent clearing of icebergs from the region.

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