An ASTER Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for the Darwin-Hatherton Glacial System, Antarctica.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The Darwin-Hatherton glacial system is an outlet glacial system in the Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica, which drains ice from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet into the Ross Ice Shelf. This research provides remotely sensed data that can be used in modeling research for the Darwin-Hatherton glacial system, which in turn can be used in mass balance research for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Two improved digital elevation models (DEM) are produced to cover the lower Darwin Glacier and to cover the upper Darwin and Hatherton Glaciers. The new improved DEMs are generated from Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) satellite data, with a resolution of 45 m. To produce the two final DEMs, multiple DEMs are firstly adjusted to remove systematic errors and are then stacked and averaged to increase the accuracy and produce the final two DEMs. For the lower Darwin Glacier, 5 DEMs were averaged and in the upper Darwin and Hatherton Glaciers, 6 DEMs were averaged. The accuracy is quantified by a remaining error of + 9 m for the lower Darwin Glacier DEM and + 37 m for the upper Darwin and Hatherton Glaciers DEM. This is a significant improvement from the existing 200 m resolution Radarsat Antarctic mapping project (RAMPv2) DEM which has a remaining error of + 138 m over the lower Darwin Glacier and + 152 m over the upper Darwin and Hatherton Glaciers. The accuracy is assessed by comparing the ASTER and RAMPv2 DEMs to highly accurate ice, cloud and land elevation satellite (ICESat) laser altimetry data. A 15 m resolution, true colour, orthorectified image is provided for the entire Darwin-Hatherton glacial system from ASTER satellite imagery. The DEMs used to orthorectify the ASTER satellite imagery are the two new 45 m resolution ASTER DEMs. Lastly feature tracking was explored as a method for measuring surface ice velocity. This research shows that feature tracking is unsuitable for the Darwin-Hatherton glacial system if using 15 m resolution satellite imagery over a 1 to 4 year time period.