Science Service System

Summary of Proposal OCE2184

TitleTracking and prediction of the path of the Giant Pine Island iceberg
Investigator Bigg, Grant - University of Sheffield, Department of Geography
Team Members
Dr. Marsh, Robert - University of Southampton, School of Ocean and Earth Sciences
SummaryThe NERC-funded project has 4 main objectives: 1. To monitor the passage of this giant iceberg, derived from Pine Island Glacier, over ~6 months, including the products of any major fracturing events; 2. To model its trajectory, and melting, within the coupled ocean-iceberg model NEMO-ICB; 3. To forecast its future movement and melting; 4. To forecast the giant icebergís likely dynamical impact on the Southern Ocean. Two principal methods will be used to achieve these aims. One is the use of iceberg tracking, using SAR imagery. The other involves use of the coupled ocean-iceberg model NEMO-ICB, which is a newly developed part of the UK Meteorological Office's ocean component of the climate model, to do the forecast elements. The Terrasar-X data will be used in the work towards the first objective - suffice it here to say that the iceberg module within NEMO will be used to both model the existing and progressing trajectory and melting of the PIG iceberg (and the products of any break-ups),and to predict its path and melting until dissolution. With respect to the tracking, the iceberg will be tracked using the ITSARI (Ice Tracking using SAR Instruments) software (Silva and Bigg, 2005; Hall et al.,2012), which can differentiate between icebergs and sea-ice, a necessary tracking capability during the months when the giant iceberg is in the Antarctic Coastal Current zone. If the iceberg were to fracture during the monitoring period all major fragments would be tracked separately. Both the track and iceberg(s) area would be monitored to inform the updating of the iceberg modelling. The latter gives an estimate of the iceberg melting rate to compare with the coupled ocean-iceberg modelís prediction. It is planned to track the iceberg for about9 months from its final separation from the Glacier, on November 11, 2013. As the iceberg is still within the Pine Island Glacier fjord we do not expect to need regular coverage until the southern summer. We hope to use other imagery, but from the Terrasar-X mission we anticipate requiring a WideScan SAR image from each of the times of 11 November, and then bimonthly through December to March. We will also require a few Scansar HH polarization images for comparison with the Widescan mode.The core period of the iceberg modelling will run from January to March 2014. Our deliverables within the context of this application are therefore to i) produce initial track and size data by early January to be used to initialise the model; ii) to continue monitoring iceberg movement,fracture and area during the modelling period; iii) to compare the performance of the Widescan SAR and ScanSAR modes in detecting icebergs and estimation of their size. By April, the modelling component, having been verified from initial movement over the first 6 months,will give predictions of the Pine Island iceberg movement through the rest of2014. The funding obtained is for a 6 months project, between Sheffield and Southampton, with Dr. Wilton employed to carry out the tracking at Sheffield and another postdoc to do the modelling in Southampton, under Dr. Marsh's direction. Hall J.A. et al., 2012, Identification and tracking of individualsea ice floes from ENVISAT Wide Swath SAR images: a case study from FramStrait, Rem. Sens. Lett., 3, 295-304 Silva,T.A.M. and Bigg, G.R., 2005,Computer-based identification and tracking of Antarctic icebergs in SAR images,Rem.Sens. Environ., 94, 287-297.

Back to list of proposals

© DLR 2004-2016