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ASAID: Antarctic Surface Accumulation and Ice Discharge

imageThe proposed project focuses the efforts of 20 scientists in 9 countries to produce a series of benchmark data sets for the International Polar Year. Those data sets culminate in the first quantification of the total rate of ice loss by flow from the Antarctic Ice Sheet. This work will be conducted by young scientists mentored by professional scientists to help train the next generation of scientists in the use of remote sensing data of the polar regions. Satellite data include ICESat laser altimetry, Landsat optical imagery and various European and Canadian synthetic aperture radar data.


ASAID employs new remote sensing methods applied to multiple satellite data sets (ICESat, Landsat, and InSAR) to complete the first-ever measurement of the total discharge of ice from the grounded Antarctic Ice Sheet. This will significantly reduce the uncertainty in this fundamental characteristic of the ice sheet that heretofore has been based only on the outflow of major outlets. This work also provides the most detailed and comprehensive mapping ever of the grounding line position, as well as ice thickness and velocity along and in the vicinity of the grounding line. These products are sensitive indicators of changes and will serve as benchmark data sets of the International Polar Year suitable for subsequent comparisons to identify and quantify future changes in the ice sheet. An international team of student analysts and professional mentors will use standardized methods to accomplish these objectives. Field validation will be provided to quantify the accuracy of the results. Data products will be made publicly available through the Antarctic data portal hosted at the USGS EROS Data Center and the National Snow and Ice Data Center.


The primary objectives of ASAID are to create the following benchmark data sets around the
perimeter of Antarctica: