Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2016, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (2): 243-256.doi: 10.1007/s11442-016-1266-3

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles    

Surface velocity estimations of ice shelves in the northern Antarctic Peninsula derived from MODIS data

Jun CHEN1,2(), Changqing *KE1,2(), Xiaobing ZHOU3, Zhude SHAO1,2, Lanyu LI1,2   

  1. 1. Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. Key Laboratory for Satellite Mapping Technology and Applications of State Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation of China, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. Department of Geophysical Engineering, Montana Tech of the University of Montana, Butte, MT 59701, USA
  • Received:2015-05-03 Accepted:2015-07-31 Online:2016-02-25 Published:2016-02-25
  • About author:

    Author: Chen Jun, PhD Candidate, specialized in Remote Sensing and glaciology. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Ke Changqing, Professor, E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Nature Science Foundation of China, No.41371391;Chinese National Antarctic and Arctic Research Expedition, No.CHINARE2015-02-02;Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China, No.20120091110017;A Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions (PAPD);And this work was partially supported by Collaborative Innovation Center of Novel Software Technology and Industrialization


The ice shelves in the northern Antarctic Peninsula are highly sensitive to variations of temperature and have therefore served as indicators of global warming. In this study, we estimate the velocities of the ice shelves in the northern Antarctic Peninsula using co-registration of optically sensed images and correlation module (COSI-Corr) in the Environment for Visualizing Images (ENVI) based on Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images during 2000-2012, from which we conclude that the ice ?ow directions generally match the peninsulas pattern and the crevasse, ice flows mainly eastward into the Weddell Sea. The spatial pattern of velocity field exhibits an increasing trend from the western grounding line to the maximum at the middle part of the ice shelf front on Larsen C with a velocity of approximately 700 ma-1, and the velocity field shows relatively higher values in its southerly neighboring ice shelf (e.g. Smith Inlet). Additionally, ice ?ows are relatively quicker in the outer part of the ice shelf than in the inner parts. Temporal changes in surface velocities show a continuous increase from 2000 to 2012. It is worth noting that, the acceleration rate during 2000-2009 is relatively higher than that during 2009-2012, while the ice movement on the southern Larsen C and Smith Inlet shows a deceleration from 2009 to 2012.

Key words: surface velocities, ice shelf, northern Antarctic Peninsula, MODIS, spatiotemporal variations