Research Articles

Satellite-Image-Derived Velocity Field of an Antarctic Ice Stream

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Science  12 Apr 1991:
Vol. 252, Issue 5003, pp. 242-246
DOI: 10.1126/science.252.5003.242


The surface velocity of a rapidly moving ice stream has been determined to high accuracy and spatial density with the use of sequential satellite imagery. Variations of ice velocity are spatially related to surface undulations, and transverse velocity variations of up to 30 percent occur. Such large variations negate the concept of plug flow and call into question earlier mass-balance calculations for this and other ice streams where sparse velocity data were used. The coregistration of images with the use of the topographic undulations of the ice stream and the measurement of feature displacement with cross-correlation of image windows provide significant improvements in the use of satellite imagery for ice-flow determination.

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