Progress in satellite remote sensing of ice sheets

Duncan J. Quincey, A. Luckman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


Understanding the changing mass balance and surface dynamics of the Earth’s major ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica is of fundamental importance for accurate predictions of future sea-level rise. In this review, the remote sensing data sources available to ice-sheet studies are considered and the range of information that can be gained from remote sensing is examined. The review demonstrates that the integration of a range of remote sensing data sets can provide information on ice-sheet dynamics and volume changes, melt patterns and formation and drainage of supra- and subglacial lakes. Such data are highly complementary to field investigations by providing a regional-scale, synoptic perspective. The review concludes that emerging remote sensing techniques such as SAR interferometry, feature tracking, scatterometry, altimetry and gravimetry provide vital information without which an understanding of ice sheets would be far less advanced. It also concludes that there remain several key challenges for remote sensing, in particular relating to the observation of rapid dynamical changes that are characteristic of contemporary ice-sheet response to continued climatic warming.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-567
Number of pages21
JournalPhysical Geography
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


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