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  • English
    Authors: 
    Vinther, Bo Møllesøe; Freitag, Johannes; Kipfstuhl, Sepp; Weißbach, Stefanie; Karlsson, Nanna Bjørnholt; Münch, Thomas; Hörhold, Maria;
    Publisher: PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
    Project: EC | ICE2SEA (226375)

    The firn core array of the North Greenland Traverse (NGT) provides unique climatic information for North Greenland until the mid 1990ies. In order to extend this climate record into more recent time, some of the drill sites were revisited and extension cores were drilled. The record is a composite of snow liners (from the surface to 1.29 m depth) and a consecutive firn core from 1.47 m depth to 30.00 m depth with a diameter of 75 cm. Density was measured by weighing the 55 cm long bags. Stable oxygen isotopes (δ18O) were measured at the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark. Using raw, un-calibrated dielectrical profiling (DEP) data from the field (NEEM Set-up), volcanic tie points were derived. Together with the smoothed density data and the isotopic composition the record was dated by layer counting. The annual mean values of δ18O were obtained based on this dating. Based on the density measurements and the dating, the annual accumulation rate in water equivalent depth was derived.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Sasgen, Ingo; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Bamber, Jonathan L; Rignot, Eric; Sørensen, Louise Sandberg; Wouters, Bert; Martinec, Zdenek; Velicogna, Isabella; Simonsen, Sebastian B;
    Publisher: PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
    Project: EC | ICE2SEA (226375)

    Within the last decade, the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) and its surroundings have experienced record high surface temperatures (Mote, 2007, doi:10.1029/2007GL031976; Box et al., 2010), ice sheet melt extent (Fettweis et al., 2011, doi:10.5194/tc-5-359-2011) and record-low summer sea-ice extent (Nghiem et al., 2007, doi:10.1029/2007GL031138). Using three independent data sets, we derive, for the first time, consistent ice-mass trends and temporal variations within seven major drainage basins from gravity fields from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE; Tapley et al., 2004, doi:10.1029/2004GL019920), surface-ice velocities from Inteferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR; Rignot and Kanagaratnam, 2006, doi:10.1126/science.1121381) together with output of the regional atmospheric climate modelling (RACMO2/ GR; Ettema et al., 2009, doi:10.1029/2009GL038110), and surface-elevation changes from the Ice, cloud and land elevation satellite (ICESat; Sorensen et al., 2011, doi:10.5194/tc-5-173-2011). We show that changing ice discharge (D), surface melting and subsequent run-off (M/R) and precipitation (P) all contribute, in a complex and regionally variable interplay, to the increasingly negative mass balance of the GrIS observed within the last decade. Interannual variability in P along the northwest and west coasts of the GrIS largely explains the apparent regional mass loss increase during 2002-2010, and obscures increasing M/R and D since the 1990s. In winter 2002/2003 and 2008/2009, accumulation anomalies in the east and southeast temporarily outweighed the losses by M/R and D that prevailed during 2003-2008, and after summer 2010. Overall, for all basins of the GrIS, the decadal variability of anomalies in P, M/R and D between 1958 and 2010 (w.r.t. 1961-1990) was significantly exceeded by the regional trends observed during the GRACE period (2002-2011). Data extracted in the frame of a joint ICSTI/PANGAEA IPY effort, see http://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.150150

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Pritchard, Hamish D; Ligtenberg, Stefan R M; Fricker, Helen; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Vaughan, David G; Padman, Laurie;
    Publisher: PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
    Project: EC | ICE2SEA (226375)

    Accurate prediction of global sea-level rise requires that we understand the cause of recent, widespread and intensifying glacier acceleration along Antarctic ice-sheet coastal margins. Floating ice shelves buttress the flow of grounded tributary glaciers and their thickness and extent are particularly susceptible to changes in both climate and ocean forcing. Recent ice-shelf collapse led to retreat and acceleration of several glaciers on the Antarctic Peninsula. However, the extent and magnitude of ice-shelf thickness change, its causes and its link to glacier flow rate are so poorly understood that its influence on the future of the ice sheets cannot yet be predicted. Here we use satellite laser altimetry and modelling of the surface firn layer to reveal for the first time the circum-Antarctic pattern of ice-shelf thinning through increased basal melt. We deduce that this increased melt is the primary driver of Antarctic ice-sheet loss, through a reduction in buttressing of the adjacent ice sheet that has led to accelerated glacier flow. The highest thinning rates (~7 m/a) occur where warm water at depth can access thick ice shelves via submarine troughs crossing the continental shelf. Wind forcing could explain the dominant patterns of both basal melting and the surface melting and collapse of Antarctic ice shelves, through ocean upwelling in the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas and atmospheric warming on the Antarctic Peninsula. This implies that climate forcing through changing winds influences Antarctic Ice Sheet mass balance, and hence global sea-level, on annual to decadal timescales.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Depoorter, Mathieu A; Bamber, Jonathan L; Griggs, Jennifer; Lenaerts, Jan T M; Ligtenberg, Stefan R M; van den Broeke, Michiel R; Moholdt, Geir;
    Publisher: PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
    Project: EC | ICE2SEA (226375), UKRI | Resolving Antarctic ice m... (NE/I027401/1)

    Iceberg calving has been assumed to be the dominant cause of mass loss for the Antarctic ice sheet, with previous estimates of the calving flux exceeding 2,000 gigatonnes per year. More recently, the importance of melting by the ocean has been demonstrated close to the grounding line and near the calving front. So far, however, no study has reliably quantified the calving flux and the basal mass balance (the balance between accretion and ablation at the ice-sheet base) for the whole of Antarctica. The distribution of fresh water in the Southern Ocean and its partitioning between the liquid and solid phases is therefore poorly constrained. Here we estimate the mass balance components for all ice shelves in Antarctica, using satellite measurements of calving flux and grounding-line flux, modelled ice-shelf snow accumulation rates and a regional scaling that accounts for unsurveyed areas. We obtain a total calving flux of 1,321 ± 144 gigatonnes per year and a total basal mass balance of -1,454 ± 174 gigatonnes per year. This means that about half of the ice-sheet surface mass gain is lost through oceanic erosion before reaching the ice front, and the calving flux is about 34 per cent less than previous estimates derived from iceberg tracking. In addition, the fraction of mass loss due to basal processes varies from about 10 to 90 per cent between ice shelves. We find a significant positive correlation between basal mass loss and surface elevation change for ice shelves experiencing surface lowering and enhanced discharge. We suggest that basal mass loss is a valuable metric for predicting future ice-shelf vulnerability to oceanic forcing.

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