Change Detection around the West Antarctic Coastline between 1997 and 2001 using Satellite Derived Images
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
The Southern Ocean and the area of the Antarctic Ice Sheet are intrinsically linked to global climate; and changes in shape and extent of the Antarctic Ice Shelf may be diagnostic indicators of climate change. The recent recession of ice shelves around the West Antarctic coastline has been subject to major scrutiny by glaciologists and the media. This project aims to reveal the recent changes in area along the West Antarctic coastline that have not yet been measured. This change detection was analysed, using ENVI and ArcGIS software, around the West Antarctic coastline in 1997 and in 2001. The most recent satellite image of Antarctica, Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica completed in 2007, was compared to the Radarsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (1997). Measurements of changes in area revealed that retreat and break up of the larger ice shelves (37,341.85 km2 ) in the region was the most prominent change. The Ronne Ice Shelf unexpectedly retreated the most, followed by the Ross Ice Shelf, the Northern Larsen Ice Shelf and the Thwaites Glacier. Sea ice expanded by a total of 35,806.78 km2 . In addition, iceberg and ice shelf advance were investigated. The change detection results closely correlate with climate change records taken from nearby Antarctic stations. During the four-year study period the temperature increased by one-degree Celsius. It can be concluded that ice shelves are an indicator of climate change in the region.