Glacier Geometry Changes in the Western Shore of Admiralty Bay, King George Island over the Last Decades

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Feb 23;21(4):1532. doi: 10.3390/s21041532.


This paper presents changes in the range and thickness of glaciers in Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA) No. 128 on King George Island in the period 1956-2015. The research indicates an intensification of the glacial retreat process over the last two decades, with the rate depending on the type of glacier front. In the period 2001-2015, the average recession rate of the ice cliffs of the Ecology Glacier and the northern part of the Baranowski Glacier was estimated to be approximately 15-25 m a-1 and 10-20 m a-1, respectively. Fronts of Sphinx Glacier and the southern part of the Baranowski Glacier, characterized by a gentle descent onto land, show a significantly lower rate of retreat (up to 5-10 m a-1 1). From 2001 to 2013, the glacier thickness in these areas decreased at an average rate of 1.7-2.5 m a-1 for the Ecology Glacier and the northern part of the Baranowski Glacier and 0.8-2.5 m a-1 for the southern part of the Baranowski Glacier and Sphinx Glacier. The presented deglaciation processes are related to changes of mass balance caused by the rapid temperature increase (1.0 °C since 1948). The work also contains considerations related to the important role of the longitudinal slope of the glacier surface in the connection of the glacier thickness changes and the front recession.

Keywords: DEM; archival images; climate change; glacier; glacier elevation change; glacier recession; glacier thickness change; image matching.