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Snow- and ice-height change in Antarctica from satellite gravimetry and altimetry data

Earth and Planetary Science Letters
DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.08.008
  • Antarctica
  • Ice-Height Changes
  • Snow-Height Changes
  • Grace
  • Envisat


Abstract We combine the surface-elevation and surface-mass change derived from Envisat data and GRACE solutions, respectively, to estimate regional changes in air and ice content of the surface of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) between January 2003 and October 2010. This leads, upon certain assumptions, to the separation of the rates of recent snow-accumulation change and that of ice-mass change. We obtain that the height of ice in Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers sectors decreases (≤−15.7 cm/yr) while that in the Kamb glacier sector increases (≥5.3 cm/yr). The central part of the East AIS is mostly stable while the whole Dronning Maud Land coast is dominated by an increase in snow accumulation. The Kemp land regions show an ice-mass gain that accounts for 67–74% of the observed rates of elevation change in these regions. A good agreement is obtained over 68% of the investigated area, mostly in the East AIS, between our estimated rates of snow accumulation change and the predicted rates of the monthly surface mass balance derived from a regional atmospheric climate model.

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