Articles | Volume 11, issue 6
The Cryosphere, 11, 2883–2896, 2017
The Cryosphere, 11, 2883–2896, 2017

Research article 12 Dec 2017

Research article | 12 Dec 2017

Glaciological settings and recent mass balance of Blåskimen Island in Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica

Vikram Goel1, Joel Brown1,2, and Kenichi Matsuoka1 Vikram Goel et al.
  • 1Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway
  • 2Aesir Consulting LLC, Missoula, Montana, USA

Abstract. The ice-shelf-fringed coast of Dronning Maud Land in East Antarctica contains numerous ice rises that influence the dynamics and mass balance of the region. However, only a few of these ice rises have been investigated in detail. Here, we present field measurements of Blåskimen Island, an isle-type ice rise adjacent to Fimbul Ice Shelf. This ice rise is largely dome shaped, with a pronounced ridge extending to the south-west from its summit (410 m a.s.l.). Its bed is mostly flat and about 100 m below the current sea level. Shallow radar-detected isochrones dated with a firn core reveal that the surface mass balance is higher on the south-eastern (upwind) slope than on the north-western (downwind) slope by ∼ 37 %, and this pattern has persisted for at least the past decade. Moreover, arches in radar stratigraphy suggest that the summit of the ice rise has been stable for ∼ 600 years. Ensemble estimates of the mass balance using the input–output method show that this ice rise has thickened by 0.12–0.37 m ice equivalent per year over the past decade.

Short summary
Ice rises are locally grounded features surrounded by ice shelves. They help to stabilize the Antarctic Ice Sheet and in turn are affected by ice-sheet evolution. However, details of these influences depend on the glaciological settings of the ice rises. We first present detailed ground-based investigations from Blåskimen Island ice rise in East Antarctica. We found that the ice rise is at least ~ 600-years old and has been thickening by ~ 0.3 m per year over the past decade.