Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-5676f Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-04T23:38:18.351Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Antarctic ice velocities from GPS locations logged by seismic stations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 November 2014

Meijian An*
Institute of Geomechanics, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
Douglas Wiens
Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Washington University, St Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA
Chunlei An
Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai 200136, China
Guitao Shi
Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai 200136, China
Yue Zhao
Institute of Geomechanics, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
Yuansheng Li
Polar Research Institute of China, Shanghai 200136, China


In 2007–08, seismologists began deploying passive seismic stations over much of the Antarctic ice sheet. These stations routinely log their position by navigation-grade global positioning system (GPS) receivers. This location data can be used to track the stations situated on moving ice. For stations along the traverse from Zhongshan station to Dome A in East Antarctica and at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet divide the estimated velocities of the ice surface based on positions recorded by navigation-grade GPS are consistent with those obtained by high-accuracy geodetic GPS. Most of the estimated velocities have an angle difference of <28° with the steepest downhill vector of the ice surface slope at the stations. These results indicate that navigation-grade GPS measurements over several months provide reliable information on ice sheet movement of ≥1 m yr-1. With an uncertainty of ~0.3–1 m yr-1, this method is able to resolve both very slow ice velocities near Dome A and velocities of >100 m yr-1 on Thwaites Glacier. Information on ice velocity at three locations for which no data from satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar are available have also been provided using this method.

Physical Sciences
© Antarctic Science Ltd 2014 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


An, M. 2012. A simple method for determining the spatial resolution of a general inverse problem. Geophysical Journal International, 191, 849864.Google Scholar
Bindschadler, R.A. & Scambos, T.A. 1991. Satellite-image-derived velocity-field of an Antarctic ice stream. Science, 252, 242246.Google Scholar
Bouin, M.N. & Vigny, C. 2000. New constraints on Antarctic plate motion and deformation from GPS data. Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, 105, 28 27928 293.Google Scholar
Budd, W.F., Corry, M.J. & Jacka, T.H. 1982. Results from the Amery Ice Shelf project. Annals of Glaciology, 3, 3641.Google Scholar
Cheng, X., Li, X.W., Shao, Y. & Li, Z. 2007. DINSAR measurement of glacier motion in Antarctic Grove Mountain. Chinese Science Bulletin, 52, 358366.Google Scholar
Cuffey, K.M. & Paterson, W.S.B. 2010. The physics of glaciers, 4th ed. Burlington, MA: Elsevier, 704 pp.Google Scholar
Den Ouden, M.A.G., Reijmer, C.H., Pohjola, V., van de Wal, R.S.W., Oerlemans, J. & Boot, W. 2010. Stand-alone single-frequency GPS ice velocity observations on Nordenskiöldbreen, Svalbard. Cryosphere, 4, 593604.Google Scholar
Dziewonski, A.M. & Anderson, D.L. 1981. Preliminary reference Earth model. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 25, 297356.Google Scholar
Fretwell, P., Pritchard, H.D., Vaughan, D.G. & 56 others . 2013. Bedmap2: improved ice bed, surface and thickness datasets for Antarctica. Cryosphere, 7, 375393.Google Scholar
Greve, R. & Blatter, H. 2009. Dynamics of ice sheets and glaciers. Berlin: Springer, 287 pp.Google Scholar
I-Lotus Corporation Pte . 2008. M12M timing – technical data. Available at: Google Scholar
Kiernan, R. 2001. Ice sheet surface velocities along the Lambert Glacier basin traverse route. Hobart, TAS: Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre and Australian Antarctic Division, 152 pp.Google Scholar
Manson, R., Coleman, R., Morgan, P. & King, M. 2000. Ice velocities of the Lambert Glacier from static GPS observations. Earth Planets and Space, 52, 10311036.Google Scholar
Matsuoka, K., Rasmussen, A. & Power, D. 2011. GPS-measured ice velocities and strain data from the Ross and Amundsen Sea ice flow divide, West Antarctica. Boulder, CO: National Snow and Ice Data Center.Google Scholar
Ren, J.W., Allison, I., Xiao, C.D. & Qin, D.H. 2002. Mass balance of the Lambert Glacier basin, East Antarctica. Science in China Series D - Earth Sciences, 45, 842850.Google Scholar
Rignot, E., Mouginot, J. & Scheuchl, B. 2011. Ice flow of the Antarctic ice sheet. Science, 333, 14271430.Google Scholar
Testut, L., Hurd, R., Coleman, R., Rémy, F. & Legrésy, B. 2003. Comparison between computed balance velocities and GPS measurements in the Lambert Glacier basin, East Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 37, 337343.Google Scholar
Trimble Navigation 2011. Data sheet – Lassen iQ GPS module. Available at: Google Scholar
Van de Wal, R.S.W., Boot, W., van den Broeke, M.R., Smeets, C.J.P.P., Reijmer, C.H., Donker, J.J.A. & Oerlemans, J. 2008. Large and rapid melt-induced velocity changes in the ablation zone of the Greenland ice sheet. Science, 321, 111113.Google Scholar
Fudge, T.J., Steig, E.J., Markle, B.R. & WAIS Divide Project Members . 2013. Onset of deglacial warming in West Antarctica driven by local orbital forcing. Nature, 500, 10.1038/nature12376.Google Scholar
Wessel, P. & Smith, W.H.F. 1991. Free software helps map and display data. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union, 72, 10.1029/90EO00319.Google Scholar
Zandbergen, P.A. 2008. Positional accuracy of spatial data: non-normal distributions and a critique of the national standard for spatial data accuracy. Transactions in GIS, 12, 103130.Google Scholar
Zhang, S.K., Dongchen, E., Wang, Z.M., Li, Y.S., Jin, B. & Zhou, C.X. 2008. Ice velocity from static GPS observations along the transect from Zhongshan station to Dome A, East Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 48, 113118.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

An Supplementary Material

Supplementary Material

Download An Supplementary Material(PDF)
PDF 842 KB