DFG-Priority Programme 1158 Antarctic Research
Funding period: 2012-2015
Climate conditions along the Antarctic Peninsula have considerably changed in the last 50 years. The glaciers on the Western Antarctic Peninsula have already shown reactions of change by speed-up and surface lowering. The disintegration of the Larsen-A and B Ice Shelves, the ice shelves in the Larsen Inlet, Prinz-Gustav-Channel and Wordie Ice Shelf have led to a surge-type behaviour of tributary glaciers to which much of the current contribution of Antarctic Peninsula ice to sea level rise is attributed. However, quantifications of mass loss from the peninsula using different observations and methods are still ambiguous.
The aim of our project is on to improve the quantifications of mass loss in the area of the former Northern Larsen-A embayment as well as for Western Antarctic Peninsula glaciers. In order to achieve those goals we analyse time series of satellite data from ERS 1/2, Envisat, Radarsat 1, ALOS PALSAR, TanDEM-X & TerraSAR-X and Rapideye to determine glacier velocity changes for these regions over the last 20 years. Furthermore we generate digital elevation models from TanDEM-X mission data in order to calculate surface elevation changes. Our products are backed up with GNSS ground truth measurements from joint German-Argentine (DNA_IAA) field campaigns and laser altimetry done by collaborating partners (Alfred Wegener Institut, Bremerhaven). In an integrated analysis those data sets are linked to achieve a better glaciological understanding of underlying processes and to estimate the ice mass loss at the study region.