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Spatial modelling of wetness for the Antarctic Dry Valleys

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Author(s): Glen Stichbury | Lars Brabyn | T.G. Allan Green | Craig Cary

Journal: Polar Research
ISSN 0800-0395

Volume: 30;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: GIS | water | Antarctica | remote sensing.

ABSTRACT
This paper describes a method used to model relative wetness for part of the Antarctic Dry Valleys using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing. The model produces a relative index of liquid water availability using variables that influence the volume and distribution of water. Remote sensing using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) images collected over four years is used to calculate an average index of snow cover and this is combined with other water sources such as glaciers and lakes. This water source model is then used to weight a hydrological flow accumulation model that uses slope derived from Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) elevation data. The resulting wetness index is validated using three-dimensional visualization and a comparison with a high-resolution Advanced Land Observing Satellite image that shows drainage channels. This research demonstrates that it is possible to produce a wetness model of Antarctica using data that are becoming widely available.
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