Snow dunes and glazed surfaces in Antarctica: New field and remote-sensing data

Massimo Frezzotti, Stefano Gandolfi, Floriana La Marca, Stefano Urbini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Citations (Scopus)


As part of the International Trans-Antarctic Scientific Expedition project, the Italian Antarctic Programme undertook two traverses from the Terra Nova station to Talos Dome and to Dome C. Along the traverses, the party carried out several tasks (drilling, glaciological and geophysical exploration). The difference in spectral response between glazed surfaces and snow makes it simple to identify these areas on visible/near-infrared satellite images. Integration of field observation and remotely sensed data allows the description of different mega-morphologic features: wide glazed surfaces, sastrugi glazed surface fields, transverse dunes and megadunes. Topography global positioning system, ground penetrating radar and detailed snow-surface surveys have been carried out, providing new information about the formation and evolution of mega-morphologic features. The extensive presence, (up to 30%) of glazed surface caused by a long hiatus in accumulation, with an accumulation rate of nil or slightly negative, has a significant impact on the surface mass balance of a wide area of the interior part of East Antarctica. The aeolian processes creating these features have important implications for the selection of optimum sites for ice coring, because orographic variations of even a few metres per kilometre have a significant impact on the snow-accumulation process. Remote-sensing surveys of aeolian macro-morphology provide a proven, high-quality method for detailed mapping of the interior of the ice sheet's prevalent wind direction and could provide a relative indication of wind intensity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81 - 88
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Glaciology
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth-Surface Processes

Cite this