The regional-scale surface mass balance of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, over the period 2005--2014, derived from airborne radar soundings and neutron probe measurements


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stefan.kowalewski [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

We derive recent surface mass balance (SMB) estimates from airborne radar observations along the iSTAR traverse (2013, 2014) at Pine Island Glacier (PIG), West Antarctica. Ground-based neutron probe measurements provide information of snow and firn density with depth at 22 locations and were used to date internal annual reflection layers. The 2005 layer was traced for a total distance of 2367 km to determine annual mean SMB for the period 2005–2014. Using complementary SMB estimates from two regional climate models, RACMO2.3p2 and MAR, and a geostatistical kriging scheme, we determine a regional-scale SMB distribution with similar main characteristics to that determined for the period 1985–2009 in previous studies. Local departures exist for the northern PIG slopes, where the orographic precipitation shadow effect appears to be more pronounced in our observations, and the southward interior, where the SMB gradient is more pronounced in previous studies. We derive total mass inputs of 79.9 +/- 19.2 and 82.1 +/- 19.2 Gt yr-1 to the PIG basin based on complementary ASIRAS–RACMO and ASIRAS–MAR SMB estimates, respectively. These are not significantly different to the value of 78.3 +/- 6.8 Gt yr-1 for the period 1985–2009. Thus, there is no evidence of a secular trend at decadal scales in total mass input to the PIG basin. We note, however, that our estimated uncertainty is more than twice the uncertainty for the 1985–2009 estimate on total mass input. Our error analysis indicates that uncertainty estimates on total mass input are highly sensitive to the selected krige methodology and assumptions made on the interpolation error, which we identify as the main cause for the increased uncertainty range compared to the 1985–2009 estimates.



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Eprint ID
53821
DOI 10.5194/tc-15-1285-2021

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Kowalewski, S. , Helm, V. , Morris, E. M. and Eisen, O. (2021): The regional-scale surface mass balance of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, over the period 2005--2014, derived from airborne radar soundings and neutron probe measurements , The Cryosphere, 15 (3), pp. 1285-1305 . doi: 10.5194/tc-15-1285-2021


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