Science Service System

Summary of Proposal HYD2869

TitleTidal flexure of ice shelves: the key to understanding Antarctic grounding zones
Investigator Marsh, Oliver - University of Canterbury, Gateway Antarctica
Team Member
Mr Wild, Christian - University of Canterbury, Gateway Antarctica
SummaryAntarctic ice sheet thickness is vital for predicting glacier discharge and estimating sea level change. Thickness and ice properties are especially important in the grounding zone of outlet glaciers and ice streams where grounded ice first comes into contact with ocean water and melt rates are high. The ice at the landward margin of ice shelves bends continuously due to ocean tides and TerraSAR-X differential interferometry can be used to precisely map the bending(vertical displacement), providing spatially complete and high resolution information on ice deformation parameters and thickness.The primary aim of this project is determine how flexural snapshots from short-time frame InSAR line up with ground based information about termporal changes in flexure around large Antarctic ice shelves. Inverse elastic finite-element modeling will be used to calculate variability in internal ice rheology and elastic stiffness between different grounding zone configurations. We require data from grounding zones with greater than 3 repeat passes and variable tidal range to produce differential interferograms.This intereferometric data will provide a deeper understand of short-term (daily/monthly) ice dynamics and spatial variability in ice stiffness in remote and poorly studied areas of the Antarctic grounding zone.This work is funded through a Marsden Fast-Start award ( and through the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (

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DLR 2004-2016