2021 Undergraduate Research Showcase

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Ellyn M. Enderlin


With oceanic warming due to a changing climate around Antarctica, glacier stability and mass loss have become an increasing concern. Ocean observations are necessary at the ice-ocean interface to understand the association between glacier mass loss and changing ocean conditions, but it is difficult to impossible to acquire the data needed due to the challenging observational conditions around Antarctica. To further understand how ocean conditions can affect glacier melt rates, remotely sensed iceberg melt rates are utilized to extrapolate variations in ocean conditions for 16 study sites around Antarctica, including the Antarctic Peninsula. Iceberg mass loss is estimated by measuring the elevation change in repeat digital elevation models (DEMs) and then converted to area-average melt rate estimates. Temporal and spatial variations in remotely sensed melt rates are compared to independent melt rate estimates from hydrographic data from shipborne hydrographic survey observations. High iceberg melt rates are correlated with observations of rapid glacier mass loss, but we also observe low and relatively steady melt rates in regions that have displayed rapid change in recent years, such as the Larsen A and Larsen B embayments and Totten Glacier.



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