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Mapping the grounding zone of the Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica using InSAR, MODIS and ICESat

  • Helen Amanda Fricker (a1), Richard Coleman (a2) (a3) (a4), Laurie Padman (a5), Ted A. Scambos (a6), Jennifer Bohlander (a6) and Kelly M. Brunt (a1)...


We use a combination of satellite techniques (interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), visible-band imagery, and repeat-track laser altimetry) to develop a benchmark map for the Amery Ice Shelf (AIS) grounding zone (GZ), including its islands and ice rises. The break-in-slope, as an indirect estimate of grounding line location, was mapped for the entire AIS. We have also mapped ∼55% of the landward edge and ∼30% of the seaward edge of the ice shelf flexure boundary for the AIS perimeter. Vertical ice motion from Global Positioning System receivers confirms the location of the satellite-derived GZ in two regions. Our map redefines the extent of floating ice in the south-western AIS and identifies several previously unmapped grounded regions, improving our understanding of the stresses supporting the current dynamical state of the ice shelf. Finally, we identify three along-flow channels in the ice shelf basal topography, approximately 10 km apart, 1.5 km wide and 300–500 m deep, near the southern GZ. These channels, which form at the suture zones between ice streams, may represent zones of potential weakness in the ice shelf and may influence sub-ice-shelf ocean circulation.


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