A "continuity-index" for assessing ice-sheet dynamics from radar-sounded internal layers

Nanna B. Karlsson, David M. Rippin, Robert George Bingham, David G. Vaughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Radio-echo sounding (RES) of polar ice sheets reveals extensive internal layering. The degree of continuity of internal layering holds critical information about the ice-flow field, but previous analyses of this parameter have been limited to qualitative classications. Here we present a newly-developed quantitative method for analyzing internal layer continuity – named the continuity-index. Signicantly, our new method for analyzing internal layers is readily transferable across RES datasets, offering promise for data-led assessments of past and present flow dynamics across large areas of Antarctica and Greenland. When applied to data from Pine Island Glacier (PIG), WestAntarctica, the new method clearly identifies a continuum of discontinuity of internal layers that corresponds with the current ice-velocity field. The analysis provides further support that the main trunk and tributaries are unlikely to have undergone significant migration since the deposition of the internal layering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-94
Number of pages7
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Early online date14 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2012


  • glaciology
  • radio-echo sounding
  • internal layers
  • West Antartica
  • ice-penetrating radar
  • ice dynamics


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