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Small-scale spatio-temporal characteristics of accumulation rates in western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

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Anschütz, H. , Steinhage, D. , Eisen, O. , Oerter, H. , Horwarth, M. and Ruth, U. (2008): Small-scale spatio-temporal characteristics of accumulation rates in western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica , Journal of Glaciology Vol. 54, no. 185, pp. 315-323 .
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Abstract:

Spatio-temporal variations of the recently determined accumulation rate are investigated using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) measurements and firn-core studies. The study area is located on Ritscherflya in western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, at an elevation range 1400-1560 m. Accumulation rates are derived from internal reflection horizons (IRHs), tracked with GPR, which are connected to a dated firn core. GPR-derived internal layer depths show small relief along a 22 km profile on an ice flowline. Average accumulation rates are about 190 kg m−2 a−1 (1980-2005) with spatial variability (1σ) of 5% along the GPR profile. The interannual variability obtained from four dated firn cores is one order of magnitude higher, showing 1σ standard deviations around 30%. Mean temporal variations of GPR-derived accumulation rates are of the same magnitude or even higher than spatial variations. Temporal differences between 1980-90 and 1990-2005, obtained from two dated IRHs along the GPR profile, indicate temporally non-stationary processes, linked to spatial variations. Comparison with similarly obtained accumulation data from another coastal area in central Dronning Maud Land confirms this observation. Our results contribute to understanding spatio-temporal variations of the accumulation processes, necessary for the validation of satellite data (e.g. altimetry studies and gravity missions such as Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)).

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