Sensing the bed-rock movement due to ice unloading from space using InSAR time-series

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Wenliang Zhao1, Falk Amelung1, Timothy H Dixon2 and Shimon Wdowinski1, (1)University of Miami, Miami, FL, United States, (2)University of South Florida Tampa, Tampa, FL, United States
Ice-sheets in the Arctic region are retreating rapidly since late 1990s. Typical ice loss rates are 0.5 - 1 m/yr at the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, ~ 1 m/yr at the Icelandic ice sheets, and several meters per year at the edge of Greenland ice sheet. Such load decreasing causes measurable (several millimeter per year) deformation of the Earth’s crust from Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry (InSAR). Using small baseline time-series analysis, this signal is retrieved after noises such as orbit error, atmospheric delay and DEM error being removed.

We present results from Vatnajokull ice cap, Petermann glacier and Barnes ice cap using ERS, Envisat and TerraSAR-X data. Up to 2 cm/yr relative radar line-of-sight displacement is detected. The pattern of deformation matches the shape of ice sheet very well. The result in Iceland was used to develop a new model for the ice mass balance estimation from 1995 to 2010. Other applications of this kind of technique include validation of ICESat or GRACE based ice sheet model, Earth’s rheology (Young’s modulus, viscosity and so on). Moreover, we find a narrow (~ 1km) uplift zone close to the periglacial area of Petermann glacier which may due to a special rheology under the ice stream.