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 is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

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

Christopher D. Stringer1, Jonathan L. Carrivick1, Duncan J. Quincey1, and Daniel Nývlt2 Christopher D. Stringer et al.
  • 1School of Geography and water@leeds, University of Leeds, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 9JT, UK
  • 2Polar-Geo-Lab, Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, CZ-611 37 Brno, Czech Republic

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 et al.

Status: open (until 04 Nov 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Christopher D. Stringer et al.

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 et al.

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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.