Iceberg Census and Tracking in the Weddell Sea Utilizing Satellite Data


Dr. Wolfgang Dierking 
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Fachbereich Klimawissenschaften
Sektion Meereisphysik


The proposed study deals with detection and tracking of icebergs using satellite data, with emphasis on radar imagery. The objectives are: (1) to increase the accuracy of the loss term in the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet originating from calving of icebergs, and (2) to improve the estimation of freshwater fluxes due to iceberg melting and export. As part of the project, a software tool for iceberg detection and tracking has been devised that combines images from different satellite sensors and model predictions of iceberg drift. One goal is to monitor also smaller icebergs of less than hundred meters in size. Two test sites in the Weddell Sea were selected for detailed case studies of iceberg calving and decay, and of the sensitivity of their drift pattern to sea ice coverage, ocean currents, and meteorological conditions. Signatures of icebergs observed in images of different radar sensors have been analysed for further improvement of the detection and tracking procedure. The investigations shall later be applied to the whole Southern Ocean.


DFG-Verfahren: Infrastruktur-Schwerpunktprogramme

Be­tei­lig­te Per­so­nen: Dr. Hartmut H. HellmerDr. Christine Wesche

Förderung von 2007 bis 2013