University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > British Antarctic Survey - Ice Dynamics and Paleoclimate Seminar Series > Mapping Slush and Ponded Meltwater across Antarctic Ice Shelves using Supervised Classification

Mapping Slush and Ponded Meltwater across Antarctic Ice Shelves using Supervised Classification

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75% of the Antarctic coastline is bordered by Antarctic ice shelves, which often buttress inland grounded ice, therefore buffering contributions to global mean sea level rise. Ice shelf mass balance and stability is partially affected by surface melting, which can drive the formation of extensive surface meltwater systems, and potentially cause ice shelf collapse by hydrofracture. Surface meltwater systems are comprised of slush (saturated firn) and ponded meltwater. It is important that the onset, extent, duration, and composition of the surface meltwater systems across all Antarctic ice shelves is monitored closely, so we can better understand and predict each ice shelf’s potential vulnerability to hydrofracture-driven collapse.

Whilst mapping relatively deep, ponded meltwater can be achieved using simple threshold-based methods, few studies have previously mapped slush, owing to its spectral similarities to other surface facies such as blue ice, snow, and ponded meltwater. Here, we present and apply a supervised classifier capable of automatically mapping and distinguishing between slush and ponded meltwater on all Antarctic ice shelves using the Landsat 8 record. Initial results will be presented during this talk.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey - Ice Dynamics and Paleoclimate Seminar Series series.

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