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Snow dunes and glazed surfaces in Antarctica: new field and remote-sensing data

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As part of the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition project, the Italian Antarctic Programme undertook two traverses from the Terra Nova station to Talos Dome and to Dome C. Along the traverses, the party carried out several tasks (drilling, glaciological and geophysical exploration). The difference in spectral response between glazed surfaces and snow makes it simple to identify these areas on visible/near-infrared satellite images. Integration of field observation and remotely sensed data allows the description of different mega-morphologic features: wide glazed surfaces, sastrugi glazed surface fields, transverse dunes and megadunes. Topography global positioning system, ground penetrating radar and detailed snow-surface surveys have been carried out, providing new information about the formation and evolution of mega-morphologic features.The extensive presence, (up to 30%) of glazed surface caused by a long hiatus in accumulation, with an accumulation rate of nil or slightly negative, has a significant impact on the surface mass balance of a wide area of the interior part of East Antarctica. The aeolian processes creating these features have important implications for the selection of optimum sites for ice coring, because orographic variations of even a few metres per kilometre have a significant impact on the snow-accumulation process. Remote-sensing surveys of aeolian macro-morphology provide a proven, high-quality method for detailed mapping of the interior of the ice sheet's prevalent wind direction and could provide a relative indication of wind intensity.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-01-01

More about this publication?
  • 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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