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Antarctic glaciers named after satellites

07 June 2019

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Dramatic changes in the shape of the Antarctic ice sheet have become emblematic of the climate crisis. And, in deference to the critical role that satellites play in measuring and monitoring Antarctic glaciology, seven areas of fast-flowing ice on the Antarctic Peninsula have been named after Earth observation satellites.

Reports of iceberg calving, changes in ice-sheet speed, thickness and mass have informed the climate change debate. These reports are thanks largely to routine monitoring by an international fleet of Earth observation satellites.

Recognising the importance of observations from space, the UK Antarctic Place-names Committee has approved seven new names for international use.

The decision follows a request by Anna Hogg from the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds, UK, who identified that the major glaciers flowing westwards from the Dyer Plateau are thinning and flowing at rates of more than 1.5 metres a day.

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