We constructed Antarctic ice velocity maps from Landsat 8 images for the years 2014 and 2015 at a high spatial resolution (100 m). These maps were assembled from 10,690 scenes of displacement vectors inferred from more than 10,000 optical images acquired from December 2013 through March 2016. We estimated the mass discharge of the Antarctic ice sheet in 2008, 2014, and 2015 using the Landsat ice velocity maps, interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)-derived ice velocity maps (~2008) available from prior studies, and ice thickness data. An increased mass discharge (53 ± 14 Gt yr−1) was found in the East Indian Ocean sector since 2008 due to unexpected widespread glacial acceleration in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica, while the other five oceanic sectors did not exhibit significant changes. However, present-day increased mass loss was found by previous studies predominantly in west Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. The newly discovered increased mass loss in Wilkes Land suggests that the ocean heat flux may already be influencing ice dynamics in the marine-based sector of the East Antarctic ice sheet (EAIS). The marine-based sector could be adversely impacted by ongoing warming in the Southern Ocean, and this process may be conducive to destabilization.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 14, 2018
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