Geophysical Research Letters

Glacier acceleration and thinning after ice shelf collapse in the Larsen B embayment, Antarctica



[1] Ice velocities derived from five Landsat 7 images acquired between January 2000 and February 2003 show a two- to six-fold increase in centerline speed of four glaciers flowing into the now-collapsed section of the Larsen B Ice Shelf. Satellite laser altimetry from ICESat indicates the surface of Hektoria Glacier lowered by up to 38 ± 6 m in a six-month period beginning one year after the break-up in March 2002. Smaller elevation losses are observed for Crane and Jorum glaciers over a later 5-month period. Two glaciers south of the collapse area, Flask and Leppard, show little change in speed or elevation. Seasonal variations in speed preceding the large post-collapse velocity increases suggest that both summer melt percolation and changes in the stress field due to shelf removal play a major role in glacier dynamics.