AVHRR imagery reveals Antarctic ice dynamics

Authors


Abstract

Standing on the surface of the West Antarctic ice sheet, it is difficult to appreciate the dynamic nature of the ice below your feet and the concern many glaciologists hold for how the future of this ice sheet may seriously impact the rest of the world. This ice sheet, grounded on a bed hundreds to more than a thousand meters below sea level, is of a type believed capable of rapid collapse, an event that could raise global sea level a total of 6 m at rates over 30 mm/a. Such rates have not been experienced since the deglaciation of the North American ice sheet 12,000 years ago [Fairbanks, 1989] and would have serious economic and ecologic consequences worldwide.

Ancillary