Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Space Industry and Business News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



EARTH OBSERVATION
TerraSAR-X Image Of The Month: Ice Flow Like Molten Metal

The detailed picture of around 30 kilometres sent from the TerraSAR-X radar satellite shows the Antarctic Nimrod Glacier flowing around the Kon-Tiki Nunatak, a rock protruding through the ice sheet. It is even possible to pick out the fissures in the glacier's main body. Credit: DLR.
by Staff Writers
Bonn, Germany (SPX) Dec 28, 2010
From over 500 kilometres up, as TerraSAR-X looks down on its icy surface, the Antarctic's Nimrod Glacier looks like molten metal. During its flight over the Antarctic, the German Aerospace Centre's (DLR) radar satellite is one of the few that can direct its view over this glacier in the Transantarctic Mountains. Researchers can use these images from space to determine the flow speed of the glacier.

Polar explorer Ernest Shackleton may not have completed his quest to be the first to stand on the geographic South Pole on his first Antarctic exploration (1907-1909), but his expedition was such a success that his ship, Nimrod, gave its name to the glacier.

The glacier is 135 kilometres long (82.5 degrees S, 160 degrees E), working its way from the polar plateau through the Transantarctic Mountains, a range of mountains that runs across the entire continent of Antarctica at heights of up to 4500 metres.

While it moves, it transports ice from eastern Antarctica to the Ross Ice Shelf. The glacier can move up to two metres per day. "The flow speed is an important indicator in understanding the dynamics of the polar ice sheets," says Dana Floricioiu from the DLR Remote Sensing Technology Institute.

"The polar regions play an important role in the Earth system - changes influence climate models with a local impact on the properties of the polar oceans as well as a global impact on rising sea levels." This detailed image - acquired by the TerraSAR-X radar satellite and having a width of about 30 kilometres, shows the glacier flowing around the Kon-Tiki Nunatak, a rock protruding through the ice sheet. It is even possible to pick out the fissures in the glacier's main body.

The South Pole in view
DLR researcher Dana Floricioiu has made a collage out of 62 individual TerraSAR-X images like these, each covering an area spanning 30 kilometres. All together, they show the entire 300-kilometre-wide glacier region. The ice can be clearly seen flowing into the Ross Ice Shelf through a 20-km-wide fjord-like a funnel (bottom left of the image).

The DLR scientists had the satellite look to the left to capture these images. "Radar satellites are typically designed so that their line-of-sight is to the right of their flight path. That's why they cannot observe regions with a latitude of more than 80 degrees south over the Antarctic," explains Floricioiu.

"But with TerraSAR-X, by rotating the satellite we can select the direction of the antenna beam so we can even capture areas close to the South Pole."

Because the radar satellite images the Earth's surface regardless of cloud cover or time of day, it can systematically observe the properties of land and oceanic ice even in remote regions, all year round. At a very high resolution of three metres, the researchers are able to observe and analyse in detail the complex in-depth structure of ice and snow-covered regions.



Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


EARTH OBSERVATION
Season's Greetings: NASA Views The Change Of Seasons
Pasadena CA (SPX) Dec 22, 2010
The change of seasons on Earth has been a cause for celebration since time immemorial. Caused by the tilt of Earth's axis relative to its orbital plane around the sun, seasons have profound changes on our weather and climate. When seasons change, nature reacts differently, depending on location. Temperatures change, rain or snow falls, rivers may flood, to name just a few effec ... read more







EARTH OBSERVATION
Ever-Sharp Urchin Teeth May Yield Tools That Never Need Honing

Tablet computers come of age with iPad mania

New Kindle becomes Amazon's all-time best seller

Skype brings video calls to iPhone, iPod, iPad

EARTH OBSERVATION
IBCS Completes Warfighter-Centered Design Exercises

Arianespace Will Orbit Sicral 2 Milcomms Satellites

Codan Receives JITC Certification For 2110 HF Manpack

Northrop Grumman Bids for Marine Corps Common Aviation CnC

EARTH OBSERVATION
Eutelsat's KA-SAT Satellite Lofted Into Orbit

Extra Weight May Have Caused GSLV Problems

ISRO Puts Off GSLV Launch

Arianespace To Launch ESA's First Sentinel Satellite

EARTH OBSERVATION
Launch Of New Russian Navigation Satellite Postponed To Next Year

Galileo's Navigation Control Hub Opens In Fucino

China Launches Seventh Orbiter For Indigenous Global SatNav System

Universal Address And GPS Enhanced Google Maps For iPhones

EARTH OBSERVATION
India's first C-130 heads for base in 2011

Facebook chorus prompts Qantas to scrap instruments ban

China, Taiwan agree to more flights for Lunar New Year

China Eastern to buy 50 Airbus airliners

EARTH OBSERVATION
Better Control Of Building Blocks For Quantum Computer

S.Korea's Hynix says chip price slump will hit Q4 profit

Iridium Memories

Making Wafers Faster By Making Features Smaller

EARTH OBSERVATION
Hole Punch Clouds Over West Virginia

TerraSAR-X Image Of The Month: Ice Flow Like Molten Metal

GOES-13 Satellite Captures Powerful Snowmaker Leaving New England

ESA Unveils Latest Map Of World's Land Cover

EARTH OBSERVATION
Long Lasting Chemicals Threaten The Environment And Human Health

'250 billion' plastic fragments in Mediterranean

Montenegro town's dream: from toxic dump to eco-tourism hub

Firefighters to hose Naples down on New Year's Eve


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement