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The regional distribution of the dry-snow zone on the Antarctic Peninsula north of 70°S

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In order to estimate the contribution of the Antarctic Peninsula to global sea-level rise as a result of the observed warming in this region, the spatial extent of snowmelt-producing areas needs to be quantified. By using the dry-snow line derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery as the uppermost limit of frequent or occasional surface melt, an estimation of the spatial extent of areas with non-zero ablation rates is facilitated. Three calibrated RADARSAT ScanSAR mosaics covering the northern Antarctic Peninsula were analyzed applying a threshold of -14 dB to identify the dry-snow line.The area of the dry-snow radar zone was determined to be 23300 ± 2000 km2. Areas affected frequently or occasionally by snowmelt cover 85 000 ± 9000 km2. In addition, the dry-snow line as derived from multi-temporal ERS-1/-2 imagery serves as an indicator of climate variability in the uppermost areas of polar glaciers and ice sheets. The upward shift of the dry-snow line between 1992 and 1998 on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula at 68°S is interpreted as a direct response to the increasing number of hightemperature events during the 1991-2000 decade.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/172756402781817914

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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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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