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34 year satellite time series to monitor characteristics, extent and dynamics of Larsen B, Antarctic Peninsula

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Citation:
Skvarca, P. , Rack, W. and Rott, H. (1999): 34 year satellite time series to monitor characteristics, extent and dynamics of Larsen B, Antarctic Peninsula , Annals of Glaciology, 29 , pp. 255-260 .
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Abstract:

A variety of data are used to investigate Larsen B, which is at present the northernmost section of the Larsen Ice Shelf. Recently declassified USArgon satellite photographs of 1963, Kosmos photographs of 1975, Landsat images of 1986, 1988 and 1990, ERS-1/2 SAR images from 1992 to1997, Radarsat of 1998 and field surveys are used to analyze the areal extent, surface characteristics and dynamic behaviour of this ice shelf sectionover more than three decades. Visible and radar imagery together with field observations are used synergistically to describe the ice shelf morphology,including meltwater features and rifts. In contrast to the retreat of the ice shelf sections in the north, Larsen B advanced steadily from 1963 to early1995 when the area decreased significantly due to a major calving event. Analysis of different satellite images indicates that melting is proceedingfurther south in coincidence with the regional warming trend. In addition, fracturing processes and rapid development of new rifts are observed,associated with recent acceleration of ice motion close to the front. All observations indicate that major calving events should be expected for this iceshelf section in the near future.

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