High-resolution boundary conditions of an old ice target near Dome C, Antarctica
- 1University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
- 2Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston, Australia
- 3Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Hobart, Australia
- 4CNRS, IGE (UMR5183), 38041 Grenoble, France
- 5Université Grenoble Alpes, IGE (UMR5183), 38041 Grenoble, France
- 6ENEA, Rome, Italy
- 7Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USA
- 8Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany
- 9Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
- 10British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK
Abstract. A high-resolution (1 km line spacing) aerogeophysical survey was conducted over a region near the East Antarctic Ice Sheet's Dome C that may hold a 1.5 Myr climate record. We combined new ice thickness data derived from an airborne coherent radar sounder with unpublished data that was in part unavailable for earlier compilations, and we were able to remove older data with high positional uncertainties. We generated a revised high-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) to investigate the potential for an old ice record in this region, and used laser altimetry to confirm a Cryosat-2 derived DEM for inferring the glaciological state of the candidate area. By measuring the specularity content of the bed, we were able to find an additional 50 subglacial lakes near the candidate site, and by Doppler focusing the radar data, we were able to map out the roughness of the bed at length scales of hundreds of meters.
We find that the primary candidate region contains elevated rough topography interspersed with scattered subglacial lakes and some regions of smoother bed. Free subglacial water appears to be restricted from bed overlain by ice thicknesses of less than 3000 m. A site near the ice divide was selected for further investigation. The high resolution of this ice thickness data set also allows us to explore the nature of ice thickness uncertainties in the context of radar geometry and processing.