Geostatistical methods for mapping Antarctic ice surfaces at continental and regional scales

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The Antarctic ice sheet plays a major role in the global system and the large ice streams discharging into the circumpolar sea represent its gateways to the world's oceans. Satellite radar-altimeter data provide an opportunity for mapping surface elevation at kilometer resolution with meter accuracy. Geostatistical methods have been developed to accomplish this. We distinguish two goals in mapping the Antarctic ice surface: (a) construction of a continent-wide atlas of maps and digital terrain models, and (b) calculation of maps and models suitable for the study of individual glaciers, ice streams and ice shelves. The atlases consist of accurate maps of ice-surface elevation compiled from Seasat, Geosat and ERS-1altimeter data, covering all of Antarctica surveyed by Geosat (to 72.1° S) and by ERS-1 (to 81.5° S). With a 3 km grid they are the highest-resolution maps available today with continent-wide coverage. The resolution permits geophysical study and facilitates monitoring of changes in ice-surface elevation and changes in flux across the ice–ocean boundary, which is essential for monitoring sea-level changes.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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