Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2022-250
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2022-250
09 Sep 2022
 | 09 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal ESSD but the revision was not accepted.

Contemporary (2016–2020) land cover across West Antarctica and the McMurdo Dry Valleys

Christopher D. Stringer, Jonathan L. Carrivick, Duncan J. Quincey, and Daniel Nývlt

Abstract. Continental-scale land cover information is essential to furthering our understanding of the terrestrial environment, atmosphere and climate change. Several global land cover products have been released in recent years but they typically do not include Antarctica. The lack of land cover data in Antarctica is concerning because mountain glaciers and icecaps there have been losing mass at a rate well above the global average, leading to expansion of proglacial regions. Proglacial regions comprise transient land cover types with high rates of geomorphological activity that delivers sediment into the Southern Ocean and supports its rich biodiversity. With Antarctic mountain glaciers and icecaps projected to lose more mass in the coming decades, and active layer soils expected to increase in thickness, it is timely to establish a baseline land cover dataset for Antarctica with which future classifications can be compared. Here, we use Landsat-8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) images to classify six proglacial regions of Antarctica at 30 m resolution, with an overall accuracy of 77.0 % for proglacial land classes. We conducted this classification using an unsupervised K-means clustering approach, which circumvented the need for training data and was highly effective at picking up key land classes, such as vegetation, water, and different sedimentary surfaces. We have highlighted the spatial pattern in land cover and emphasise a need for more and higher quality field data. The land cover maps produced from this paper are available at: Stringer, C. (2022). Contemporary (2016–2020) land cover classification across West Antarctica and the McMurdo Dry Valleys (Version 1.0) [Data set]. NERC EDS UK Polar Data Centre. https://doi.org/10.5285/5A5EE38C-E296-48A2-85D2-E29DB66E5E24.

Christopher D. Stringer, Jonathan L. Carrivick, Duncan J. Quincey, and Daniel Nývlt

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-250', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Oct 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Christopher Stringer, 02 Nov 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-250', TC Chakraborty, 25 Oct 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Christopher Stringer, 02 Nov 2022

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2022-250', Anonymous Referee #1, 25 Oct 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Christopher Stringer, 02 Nov 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on essd-2022-250', TC Chakraborty, 25 Oct 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Christopher Stringer, 02 Nov 2022
Christopher D. Stringer, Jonathan L. Carrivick, Duncan J. Quincey, and Daniel Nývlt

Data sets

Contemporary (2016 - 2020) land cover classification across West Antarctica and the McMurdo Dry Valleys (Version 1.0) [Data set] Stringer, C. https://doi.org/10.5285/5A5EE38C-E296-48A2-85D2-E29DB66E5E24

Model code and software

Contemporary (2016–2020) land cover across West Antarctica and the McMurdo Dry Valleys [Code] (Version 1) Stringer, C. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6720051

Christopher D. Stringer, Jonathan L. Carrivick, Duncan J. Quincey, and Daniel Nývlt

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Short summary
Glaciers in Antarctica have been decreasing in size at a fast rate, leading to the expansion of proglacial areas, with wide-ranging ecological implications. Several global land-cover maps exist, but they do not include Antarctica. We map land cover types across West Antarctica and the McMurdo Dry Valleys to a high degree of accuracy (77.0 %). We highlight the spatial variation in land cover and emphasise the need for more field data.
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