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Flow of Glaciar Moreno, Argentina, from repeat-pass Shuttle Imaging Radar images: comparison of the phase correlation method with radar interferometry


High-resolution radar images of Glaciar Moreno, Argentina, acquired by the Shuttle Imaging Radar C (SIR-C) on 9 and 10 October 1994 at 24 cm wavelength (L-band), are utilized to map the glacier velocity both interferometrically and using the phase correlation method. The precision of the interferometric ice velocities is 1.8 cm d-1 (6 m a-1) (1σ). The phase correlation method measures ice velocity with a precision of 14 cm d-1 (50 m a-1) with image data at a 6 m sample spacing acquired 1 day apart. Averaged strain rates are measured with a precision of 10-4 d-1 at a 240 m sample spacing with the phase correlation method, and 10-5 d-1 with radar interferometry. The phase correlation method is less precise than radar interferometry, but it performs better in areas of rapid flow, is more robust to temporal changes in glacier scattering and measures the glacier velocity in two dimensions with only one image pair. Using this technique, we find that Glaciar Moreno flows at 400 m a-1 in the terminal valley and 800 m a-1 at the calving front, in agreement with velocities recorded a decade ago. Assuming steady-state flow conditions, the vertical strain rates measured by SIR-C are combined with prior data on mass ablation to estimate the glacier thickness and ice discharge. The calculated discharge is 0.6 ± 0.2 km3 ice a-1 at 300 m elevation, and 1.1 ± 0.2 km3 ice a-1 at the equilibrium-line elevation (1150 m), which yields a balance accumulation of 6 ± 1m ice a-1.

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