Applicability of ERTS for Surveying Antarctic Iceberg Resources

by John L. Hult, Neill C. Ostrander

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An examination of the applicability of Earth Resources Technology Satellites (ERTS) to (1) determine Antarctic sea-ice and environmental behavior that may influence the harvesting of icebergs, and (2) monitor iceberg locations, characteristics, and evolution. Sample ERTS images in the western Antarctic between the Peninsula and the Ross Sea are used in the analysis. It is determined that live readout would permit timely acquisition of imagery on every orbital pass, which would be necessary to obtain adequate glimpses through the 80 percent cloud cover. Thermal sensors will provide much more complete coverage in daylight or darkness. ERTS could also offer valuable services for harmonizing competitive harvesting operations. The useful ERTS services would be more cost effective than other means and the costs could be justified and borne by the iceberg harvesting operations.

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