Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
Research article
15 Apr 2016
Research article |  | 15 Apr 2016

Constraining variable density of ice shelves using wide-angle radar measurements

Reinhard Drews, Joel Brown, Kenichi Matsuoka, Emmanuel Witrant, Morgane Philippe, Bryn Hubbard, and Frank Pattyn


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Short summary
The thickness of ice shelves is typically inferred using hydrostatic equilibrium which requires knowledge of the firn density. Here, we infer density from wide-angle radar using a novel algorithm including traveltime inversion and ray tracing. We find that firn is denser inside a 2 km wide ice-shelf channel which is confirmed by optical televiewing of two boreholes. Such horizontal density variations must be accounted for when using the hydrostatic ice thickness for determining basal melt rate.