Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-183
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-183

  17 Aug 2021

17 Aug 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Overestimation and Adjustment of Antarctic Ice Flow Velocity Fields Reconstructed from Historical Satellite Imagery

Rongxing Li1,2, Yuan Cheng1,2, Haotian Cui1,2, Menglian Xia1,2, Xiaohan Yuan1,2, Zhen Li1,2, and Gang Qiao1,2 Rongxing Li et al.
  • 1Center for Spatial Information Science and Sustainable Development Applications, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
  • 2College of Surveying and Geo-Informatics, Tongji University, Shanghai, China

Abstract. Antarctic ice velocity maps describe the ice flow dynamics of the ice sheet and are one of the primary components used to estimate the Antarctic mass balance and contribution to global sea level changes. In comparison to velocity maps covering monthly to weekly time spans derived from the images of optical imaging satellites taken in recent decades, historical maps, from before the 1990s, generally cover longer time spans, e.g., over 10 years, due to the scarce spatial and temporal coverage of earlier satellite image data. We found velocity overestimations in such long-term maps that can reach from ~69 m a−1 (7-year span) in Totten Glacier, East Antarctica, up to ~930 m a−1 (10-year span) in Pine Island, West Antarctica. We propose an innovative Lagrangian velocity-based method for overestimation correction without the use of field observations or additional image data. The method is validated by using a set of “ground truth” velocity maps for Totten Glacier which are produced from high-quality Landsat 8 images from 2013 to 2020. Subsequently, the validated method is applied to a historical velocity map of the David Glacier region from images from 1972–1989 acquired during Landsat 1, 4 and 5 satellite missions. It is demonstrated that velocity overestimations of up to 39 m a−1 for David Glacier and 69 m a−1 for Totten Glacier can be effectively corrected. Furthermore, temporal acceleration information, e.g., on calving events, is preserved in the corrected velocity maps and can be used for long-term ice flow dynamics analysis. We recommend that overestimations of more than the velocity mapping uncertainty (1σ) be corrected. This velocity overestimation correction method can be applied to the production of regional and ice sheet-wide historical velocity maps from long-term satellite images.

Rongxing Li et al.

Status: open (until 12 Oct 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-183', Anonymous Referee #1, 22 Aug 2021 reply
  • CC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-183', Massimo Frezzotti, 25 Aug 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-183', Chad Greene, 13 Sep 2021 reply

Rongxing Li et al.

Rongxing Li et al.

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Short summary
Historical velocity maps of the Antarctic ice sheet are valuable for long-term ice flow dynamics analysis. We developed an innovative method for correcting overestimations existing in historical velocity maps. The method is validated rigorously using high-quality Landsat 8 images, and then successfully applied to historical velocity maps. The historical change signatures are persevered, which can be used for assessing the impact of long-term global climate changes on the ice sheet.