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Rigorous 3D change determination in Antarctic Peninsula glaciers from stereo WorldView-2 and archival aerial imagery

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Karolina Fieber, Professor Jon MillsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper presents detailed elevation and volume analysis of 16 individual glaciers, grouped at four locations, spread across the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). The study makes use of newly available WorldView-2 satellite stereo imagery to exploit the previously untapped value of archival stereo aerial photography. High resolution photogrammetric digital elevation models (DEMs) are derived to determine three-dimensional glacier change over an unprecedented time span of six decades with an unparalleled mean areal coverage of 82 % per glacier. The use of an in-house robust surface matching algorithm ensured rigorous alignment of the DEMs to overcome inherent problems associated with processing archival photography, most notably the identification and correction of scale error in some datasets. The analysis provides insight into one of the most challenging and data-scarce areas on the planet by expanding the spatial extent north of the AP to include previously un-studied glaciers located in the South Shetland Islands. 81 % of glaciers studied showed considerable loss of volume over the period of record. The mean annual mass loss for all glaciers yielded 0.24 ± 0.08 m.w.e. per year, with a maximum mass loss of up to 62 m.w.e. and frontal retreat exceeding 2.2 km for Stadium Glacier, located furthest north on Elephant Island. Observed volumetric loss was broadly, though not always, correlated with frontal retreat. The combined mass balance of all 16 glaciers yielded -1.862 ± 0.006 Gt, which corresponds to -0.005 mm sea level equivalent (SLE) over the 57 year observation period.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Fieber KD, Mills JP, Miller PE, Clarke L, Ireland L, Fox AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Remote Sensing of Environment

Year: 2018

Volume: 205

Pages: 18-31

Print publication date: 01/02/2018

Online publication date: 23/11/2017

Acceptance date: 30/10/2017

Date deposited: 01/11/2017

ISSN (print): 0034-4257

ISSN (electronic): 1879-0704

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2017.10.042


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Funder referenceFunder name
NE/K005340/1Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)