On the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, lies the Larsen Ice Shelf – a sheet of ice which, floating on the sea and reaching far beyond the mainland, made the headlines repeatedly in recent years because it keeps losing spectacular amounts of ice. The Larsen Ice Shelf consists of three parts that follow the east coast from north to south. It is supposed that ice shelves are disintegrating because temperatures in the region have been rising markedly in the last 50 years. As this removes a major obstacle to the movement of glaciers from the mainland to the open sea, scientists expect the flow rates of the mainland glaciers in the region to increase. TerraSAR-X permits measuring glacier flow rates considerably more precisely, enabling scientists to forecast variations in the melt rates of the glaciers on the mainland and their impact on the environment with much greater precision.
Credit: DLR; date: June 26, 2007, 23:31 UTC; original resolution: 3 metres (reduced image); mode: StripMap mode; polarisation: VV