BEIJING — Chinese researchers have completed a survey of melt ponds on the Antarctic ice sheet using the “Polar Hawk III-R” drone, according to China Science Daily.
Melt ponds are pools of water that form on ice shelves and sea ice during the warmer summer months. They are some of the main evidence of melting glaciers and climate change.
Compared with the Arctic, the Antarctic has a limited amount of these ponds making it hard to observe them from satellite images, explained Cheng Xiao, head of a research team from Beijing Normal University.
Besides capturing aerial photos of the ponds and the ice shelf, the team also observed the condition of sea ice for icebreaker “Xuelong.”
“These observations are not for experimental purposes,” said Cheng, “but will be used in real work like polar logistics.”
Glaciological observations in the Antarctic are scheduled to be carried each year in the future, as a matter of routine, Cheng said.