Icebergs around Antarctica: size distributions, mass fluxes, and local calving rates by using remote sensing and drift modeling


Dr. Christine Wesche 
Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung


The proposed study deals with the detection and tracking of icebergs in the Southern Ocean, as well as the classification of calving fronts and the estimation of local calving rates. The goal of this project is to contribute to the estimations of mass discharge from Antarctica, by investigating icebergs at various sizes. The spatial distribution of icebergs, as well as a size classification will be carried out by using SAR image mosaics, which cover the whole Antarctic coastline and the adjacent Southern Ocean. Such mosaics will be generated for different years. Digital elevation models of Antarctica will be employed to derive the ice thicknesses at the calving fronts. With the aid of an iceberg drift model, buoy data and results from literature several icebergs will be tracked back to their calving fronts to get information about the thickness of the icebergs as they calved. From the combination of total iceberg areas with iceberg thickness estimations, the total iceberg mass within the area of investigation can be determined for a given time period. A comparison of total iceberg masses, total iceberg areas and iceberg size distributions between different years enables the estimation of inter-annual iceberg mass flux and trend analyses of total iceberg area change or a shift in size distribution. Local calving rates from regions of the Antarctic ice shelves will be estimated by using high-resolution SAR images and the iceberg drift model and will result in an estimation of mass discharge for the investigated region.


DFG-Verfahren: Infrastruktur-Schwerpunktprogramme

Förderung von 2011 bis 2018