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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-178
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2017-178
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  11 Sep 2017

11 Sep 2017

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This preprint was under review for the journal TC but the revision was not accepted.

A Systematic Study of the Fracturing of Ronne - Filchner Ice Shelf, Antarctica, Using Multisource Satellite Data from 2001 to 2016

Rongxing Li1,2, Haifeng Xiao1,2, Shijie Liu1,2, and Xiaohua Tong1,2 Rongxing Li et al.
  • 1Center for Spatial Information Science and Sustainable Development Applications
  • 2College of Surveying and Geo-Informatics Tongji University, 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai, 200092, China

Abstract. We propose a new framework of systematic fracture mapping and major calving event prediction for the large ice shelves in Antarctica using multisource satellite data, including optical imagery, SAR imagery, altimetric data, and stereo mapping imagery. The new framework is implemented and applied for a comprehensive study of the fracturing of Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (RFIS), the second largest ice shelf in Antarctica, using a long time dataset dating back to 1957. New remote sensing data that have been made available in the past decade, including Landsat 8, WV-2, ZY-3 and others, greatly enhance our abilities to detect new fractures and monitor large rifts in three dimensions. Two large rifts, Rifts 1 and 2, were newly detected and are comparable to the Grand Chasm that caused a major calving event in the region in 1986. Three-dimensional rift models generated from quasi real-time stereo ZY-3 images revealed important topographic information about the large rifts that can be used to improve the reliability of ice shelf modeling and support enhanced analyses of ice shelf stability. Based on the results of the 2D and 3D fracture mapping, the spatial and temporal analyses of the overall fracture changes and large rift evolutions, i.e., the level of fracturing in RFIS, were slightly increased, particularly at the front of the ice sheet. The overall fracture observations do not seem to suggest immediate significant impacts on the stability of the shelf. However, the most active regional fracturing activities occurred at the front of Filchner Ice Shelf (FIS). A potential upcoming major calving event of FIS is estimated to occur in 2051. The stability of the ice shelf, particularly with regard to the developments of Rifts 1 and 2, should be closely monitored.

Rongxing Li et al.

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Rongxing Li et al.

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Short summary
Fracturing in the RFIS was slightly increased, particularly at its front, from 2003 to 2015. They do not seem to suggest an immediate significant impact on the stability of the shelf. However, with the rapid changes and 3D measurements of Rifts 1 and 2, the most active activities occurred at the front of the FIS from 2001 to 2016. A potential upcoming major calving event in FIS is estimated to occur in 2051. The stability of the ice shelf, particularly Rifts 1 and 2, should be closely monitored.
Fracturing in the RFIS was slightly increased, particularly at its front, from 2003 to 2015....
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