Satellite radar interferometry for monitoring ice sheet motion: application to an Antarctic ice stream
Satellite radar interferometry (SRI) provides a sensitive means of monitoring the flow velocities and grounding-line positions of ice streams, which are indicators of response of the ice sheets to climatic change or internal instability. The detection limit is about 1.5 millimeters for vertical motions and about 4 millimeters for horizontal motions in the radar beam direction. The grounding line, detected by tidal motions where the ice goes afloat, can be mapped at a resolution of ∼0.5 kilometer. The SRI velocities and grounding line of the Rutford Ice Stream, Antarctica, agree fairly well with earlier ground-based data. The combined use of SRI and other satellite methods is expected to provide data that will enhance the understanding of ice stream mechanics and help make possible the prediction of ice sheet behavior.