Ice cliff retreat and sea-ice formation observed around King Sejong Station in King George Island, West Antarctica

세종기지 주변에서 관찰된 빙벽 후퇴와 바다 결빙

  • Published : 2004.03.31


Ice cliff retreat and sea-ice formation around King Sejong Station in King George Island were analysed and compared with air temperature change. Analysis of 33-year (1969-2001) air temperature records at Bellingshausen Station has revealed regional atmospheric warming, and the increasing rate of air temperature Is equivalent to a warming of $1^{\circ}C$ for 27-year period. Here we present time-series of observations for the areal extent of the ice cliff and ice sheet, showing that they have retreated dramatically in the past 45 years (1956-2001). Retreat of 1,050 m in length of the ice clifr has changed the Marian Cove into a low rectangular form of 4 km in length and 1 to 1.3km in width. The retreat rates have since increased from 6 m/yr of the Primary investigated Period to 54 and 81m/yr in the recent years. Exceptionally, the ice cliff had been advanced of 21m in length for a year between 1987 and 1988 of cold winters. Ice sheet in King George Island also shows a similar decrease, and the decreasing extent is much larger at the southern part of the Main Cove, relatively more exposed to the sun, than at the northern part. Comparing sea-ice formation in winter with air temperature data shows a pattern starting to freeze below $-5^{\circ}C$ and to thaw over $-3^{\circ}C$. It is conclusively estimated that the patterns and magnitudes of ice cliff retreat and sea-ice formation are consistent with fluctuations of the air temperature, and that the recent rapid retreat of ice cliff and less formation of sea-ice are caused especially by the warming trends in autumn accompanied with expansion of summer thawing period.


Antarctica;ice cliff retreat;warming;King George Island;sea-ice


  1. 김용권, 백원대. 1995. 세종기지 주변 수심 및 육상측량(II). p. 825-846. In: 남극 환경특성 및 보존에 관한 연구. 한국해양연구소 보고서, BSPN 00258-822-7
  2. 장순근, 윤호일, 정호성. 1998. 지구온난화와 서남극 남쉐틀랜드군도 킹조지섬의 최근 빙벽후퇴. 한국지구과학회지, 19(1), 101-106.
  3. 한국해양연구소. 1996. 남극 바톤반도의 지형도(세종기지). 축적 1:10,000.
  4. Doake, C.S.M. and D.G. Vaughan. 1991. Rapid disintegration of the Wordie Ice Shelf in response to atmospheric warming. Nature, 350(6316), 328-330.
  5. Hofmann, E.E., J.M. Klink, C.M. Lascara, and D.A. Smith. 1996. Water mass distribution and circulation west of the Antarctic Peninsula and including Bransfield Strait. p. 61-80. In: Foundations for Ecological Research West of the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctic Research Series. Vol. 70. eds. by R.M. Ross, E.E. Hofmann, and L.B. Quetin. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.
  6. King, J.C. 1994. Recent climate variability in the vicinity of the Antarctic Peninsula. Inter. J. Climatol., 14(4), 357-369.
  7. King, J.C. and S.A. Harangozo. 1998. Climate change in the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1945: observations and possible causes. Ann. Glaciol., 27, 571-575.
  8. Kwon, T.-Y. and B.Y. Lee. 2002. Precipitation anomaliesaround King Sejong station, Antarctica associated with El Nino/Southern Oscillation. Ocean and Polar Res., 24(1), 19-31.
  9. Marshall, G. 2002. Antarctic near-surface temperature trends 1951-2001. Available from WWW: [cited 2003-10-23].
  10. Mercer, J.H. 1978. West Antarctic ice sheet and $CO_2$ greenhouse effect: a threat of disaster. Nature, 271(5643), 321-325.
  11. Mitrovica, J.X., M.E. Tamisiea, J.L. Davis, and G.A. Milne. 2001. Recent mass balance of polar ice sheets inferred from patterns of global sea-level change. Nature, 409(6823), 1026-1029.
  12. NSIDC. 2002. Antarctic ice shelf collapses. Available from WWW: [cited 2003-10-23].
  13. Park, B.-K., S.-K. Chang, H.I. Yoon, and H. Chung. 1998 Recent retreat of ice cliffs, King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula. Ann. Glaciol., 27, 633-635.
  14. Sabol, S.A. and E.M. Schulson. 1989. The fracture toughness of ice in contact with salt water. J. Glaciol., 35(120), 191-192.
  15. Tison, J.L., D. Ronveaux, and R.D. Lorrain. 1993. Low salinity frazil ice generation at the base of a small Antarctic ice shelf. Antarct. Sci., 5(3), 309-322.
  16. Vaughan, D.G. and C.S.M. Doake. 1996. Recent atmospheric warming and retreat of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula. Nature, 379(6563), 328-331.
  17. Vaughan, D.G., G.J. Karshall, W.M. Connolley, J.C. King, and R. Mulvaney. 2001. Devil in the detail. Science, 293, 1777-1779.
  18. Ward, C.G. 1995. Mapping ice front changes of Müller Ice Shelf, Antarctic Peninsula. Antarct. Sci., 7(2), 197-198.

Cited by

  1. Simulation of a tidewater glacier evolution in Marian Cove, King George Island, Antarctica vol.12, pp.1, 2008,
  2. Polar gravel beach-ridge systems: Sedimentary architecture, genesis, and implications for climate reconstructions (South Shetland Islands/Western Antarctic Peninsula) vol.221, 2014,
  3. Spectral Discrimination of Vegetation Classes in Ice-Free Areas of Antarctica vol.8, pp.10, 2016,
  4. Distribution Pattern of Deschampsia antarctica, a Flowering Plant Newly Colonized around King Sejong Station in Antarctica vol.26, pp.1, 2004,
  5. Vegetation of Barton Peninsula in the neighbourhood of King Sejong Station (King George Island, maritime Antarctic) vol.30, pp.7, 2007,
  6. Thermal characteristics of soil and water during summer at King Sejong Station, King George Island, Antarctica vol.20, pp.4, 2016,
  7. Long-term Variation of the Freezing Climate near the Han River and Seoul in Korea vol.32, pp.7, 2011,
  8. Vegetation abundance on the Barton Peninsula, Antarctica: estimation from high-resolution satellite images vol.37, pp.11, 2014,
  9. Assembly processes of moss and lichen community with snow melting at the coastal region of the Barton Peninsula, maritime Antarctic vol.40, pp.1, 2016,
  10. The Community Structure of Meiofauna in Marian Cove, King George Island, Antarctica vol.33, pp.3, 2011,