Changes in ice dynamics, elevation and mass discharge of Dinsmoor–Bombardier–Edgeworth glacier system, Antarctic Peninsula

Veit.Helm [ at ]


Abstract The northern Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest changing regions on Earth. The disintegration of the Larsen-A Ice Shelf in 1995 caused tributary glaciers to adjust by speeding up, surface lowering, and overall increased ice-mass discharge. In this study, we investigate the temporal variation of these changes at the Dinsmoor–Bombardier–Edgeworth glacier system by analyzing dense time series from various spaceborne and airborne Earth observation missions. Precollapse ice shelf conditions and subsequent adjustments through 2014 were covered. Our results show a response of the glacier system some months after the breakup, reaching maximum surface velocities at the glacier front of up to 8.8 m/d in 1999 and a subsequent decrease to ∼1.5 m/d in 2014. Using a dense time series of interferometrically derived TanDEM-X digital elevation models and photogrammetric data, an exponential function was fitted for the decrease in surface elevation. Elevation changes in areas below 1000 m a.s.l. amounted to at least 130 ± 15 m between 1995 and 2014, with change rates of ∼3.15 m/a between 2003 and 2008. Current change rates (2010–2014) are in the range of 1.7 m/a. Mass imbalances were computed with different scenarios of boundary conditions. The most plausible results amount to − 40.7 ± 3.9 Gt . The contribution to sea level rise was estimated to be 18.8 ± 1.8 Gt , corresponding to a 0.052 ± 0.005 mm sea level equivalent, for the period 1995–2014. Our analysis and scenario considerations revealed that major uncertainties still exist due to insufficiently accurate ice-thickness information. The second largest uncertainty in the computations was the glacier surface mass balance, which is still poorly known. Our time series analysis facilitates an improved comparison with {GRACE} data and as input to modeling of glacio-isostatic uplift in this region. The study contributed to a better understanding of how glacier systems adjust to ice shelf disintegration.

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DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.06.047

Cite as
Seehaus, T. , Marinsek, S. , Helm, V. , Skvarca, P. and Braun, M. (2015): Changes in ice dynamics, elevation and mass discharge of Dinsmoor–Bombardier–Edgeworth glacier system, Antarctic Peninsula , Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 427 , 125 - 135 . doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.06.047

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