Skip to main content

Exploitation of satellite altimetry for the monitoring of climate-related change of Antarctic ice shelves

Objective

To produce a high resolution, orthometric elevation model of
Filchner-Ronne Schelfeis, Antarctica, accurate to within 50cm by
using satellite radar altimeter measurements acquired during 1992
and 1993 by the European Space Agency's ERS-1 mission.


Radar altimeter data from the ERS-1 35 day repeat mission will be
ingested and expertly analysed to produce an optimised
ellipsoidal data set. This analysis will seek to account for the
degree of penetration of the ice by the radio waves by
implementing new methods of analysing and interpreting the
altimeter return echoes.

To progress to a surface elevation
model, precision analyses of the satellite orbit, of the tidal
motion beneath the shelf, and of radio wave propagation delay in
the troposphere and ionosphere will be carried out. Methods of
interpolation best suited to the data spacing will be
investigated. To produce a final data set referenced to the
geodetic frame, a precision model of the local geoid will be
constructed.

The project output will be available as a
cartographic contour map published as part of the IfAG
Filchner-Ronne Schelfeis series and as a digital elevation
dataset. This high precision elevation map will become a
baseline for workers studying the important climatic link
between ocean and cryosphere which takes place at the base of the
ice shelf, and fluctuations in the position of the ice shelf
grounding line which may provide indicators of the state of
balance of the West Antarctic marine ice sheet.

It is essential for the wider community to be confident in
accepting the accuracy of the elevation model. An important
activity deals with the verification of the elevations from GPS
surveys carried out in 1991 and 1992, other ground survey data
and independent remote sensing measurements. The analysis will
be carried out between May 1994 and April 1996. The cartographic
map will be published around October 1996.

The data will provide a validated baseline for climate-related
change measurements of the ice shelf and the surrounding region
by future satellite missions.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

University College London
Address
Holmbury St Mary
RH5 6NT Dorking
United Kingdom

Participants (4)

ALFRED WEGENER INSTITUTE FOR POLAR AND MARINE RESEARCH
Germany
Address
Columbusstrasse
27568 Bremerhaven
DELFT UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Netherlands
Address
1,Kluyverweg 1
2600 GB Delft
Institut für Angewandte Geodäsie
Germany
Address
Richard-strauss-allee 11
60598 Frankfurt Am Main
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL
United Kingdom
Address
Madingley Road, High Cross
CB3 0ET Cambridge