Articles | Volume 15, issue 3
Research article 11 Mar 2021
Research article | 11 Mar 2021
The regional-scale surface mass balance of Pine Island Glacier, West Antarctica, over the period 2005–2014, derived from airborne radar soundings and neutron probe measurements
Stefan Kowalewski et al.
S. Kowalewski, C. von Savigny, M. Palm, I. C. McDade, and J. Notholt
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 10193–10210,
Angelika Humbert, Julia Christmann, Hugh F. J. Corr, Veit Helm, Lea-Sophie Höyns, Coen Hofstede, Ralf Müller, Niklas Neckel, Keith W. Nicholls, Timm Schultz, Daniel Steinhage, Michael Wolovick, and Ole Zeising
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint under review for TCShort summary
Ice shelves are normally flat structures that fringe the Antarctic continent. At some locations they have channels incised into their underside. On Filchner Ice Shelf, such a channel is more than 50 km long and up to 330 m high. We conducted field measurements of basal melt rates and found a maximum of 2.3 m a−1. Simulations represent the geometry evolution of the channel reasonably well. There is no reason to assume that this type of melt channel is destabilizing ice shelves.
Astrid Oetting, Emma C. Smith, Jan Erik Arndt, Boris Dorschel, Reinhard Drews, Todd A. Ehlers, Christoph Gaedicke, Coen Hofstede, Johann P. Klages, Gerhard Kuhn, Astrid Lambrecht, Andreas Läufer, Christoph Mayer, Ralf Tiedemann, Frank Wilhelms, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint under review for TCShort summary
This study combines a variety of geophysical measurements in front of and beneath the Ekström Ice Shelf in order to identify and interpret geomorphological evidences of past ice sheet flow, extent and retreat. The maximal extent of grounded ice in this region was 11 km away from the continental shelf break. The thickness of palaeo-ice on the calving front around the LGM was estimated to be at least 305 m to 320 m. We provide essential boundary conditions for palaeo ice-sheet models.
Johannes Sutter, Hubertus Fischer, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere, 15, 3839–3860,Short summary
Projections of global sea-level changes in a warming world require ice-sheet models. We expand the calibration of these models by making use of the internal architecture of the Antarctic ice sheet, which is formed by its evolution over many millennia. We propose that using our novel approach to constrain ice sheet models, we will be able to both sharpen our understanding of past and future sea-level changes and identify weaknesses in the parameterisation of current continental-scale models.
David A. Lilien, Daniel Steinhage, Drew Taylor, Frédéric Parrenin, Catherine Ritz, Robert Mulvaney, Carlos Martín, Jie-Bang Yan, Charles O'Neill, Massimo Frezzotti, Heinrich Miller, Prasad Gogineni, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere, 15, 1881–1888,Short summary
We collected radar data between EDC, an ice core spanning ~800 000 years, and BELDC, the site chosen for a new
oldest icecore at nearby Little Dome C. These data allow us to identify 50 % older internal horizons than previously traced in the area. We fit a model to the ages of those horizons at BELDC to determine the age of deep ice there. We find that there is likely to be 1.5 Myr old ice ~265 m above the bed, with sufficient resolution to preserve desired climatic information.
Steven Franke, Daniela Jansen, Tobias Binder, John D. Paden, Nils Dörr, Tamara Gerber, Heinrich Miller, Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, Veit Helm, Daniel Steinhage, Ilka Weikusat, Frank Wilhelms, and Olaf Eisen
Earth Syst. Sci. Data Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for ESSDShort summary
The Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) is the largest ice stream in Greenland. In order to better understand the past and future dynamics of the NEGIS, we present a high-resolution airborne radar data set (EGRIP-NOR-2018) for the onset region of the NEGIS. The survey area is centred at the location of the drill site of the East Greenland Ice-Core Project (EastGRIP) and radar profiles cover both shear margins and are aligned parallel to several flow lines.
Coen Hofstede, Sebastian Beyer, Hugh Corr, Olaf Eisen, Tore Hattermann, Veit Helm, Niklas Neckel, Emma C. Smith, Daniel Steinhage, Ole Zeising, and Angelika Humbert
The Cryosphere, 15, 1517–1535,Short summary
Support Force Glacier rapidly flows into Filcher Ice Shelf of Antarctica. As we know little about this glacier and its subglacial drainage, we used seismic energy to map the transition area from grounded to floating ice where a drainage channel enters the ocean cavity. Soft sediments close to the grounding line are probably transported by this drainage channel. The constant ice thickness over the steeply dipping seabed of the ocean cavity suggests a stable transition and little basal melting.
Evelyn Jäkel, Tim Carlsen, André Ehrlich, Manfred Wendisch, Michael Schäfer, Sophie Rosenburg, Konstantina Nakoudi, Marco Zanatta, Gerit Birnbaum, Veit Helm, Andreas Herber, Larysa Istomina, Linlu Mei, and Anika Rohde
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint withdrawnShort summary
Different approaches to retrieve the optical-equivalent snow grain size using satellite, airborne, and ground-based observations were evaluated and compared to modeled data. The study is focused on low Sun and partly rough surface conditions encountered North of Greenland in March/April 2018. We proposed an adjusted airborne retrieval method to reduce the retrieval uncertainty.
M. Reza Ershadi, Reinhard Drews, Carlos Martín, Olaf Eisen, Catherine Ritz, Hugh Corr, Julia Christmann, Ole Zeising, Angelika Humbert, and Robert Mulvaney
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for TCShort summary
Radio-waves transmitted through the ice split up and inform us about the ice sheet interior and orientation of single ice crystals. This can be used to infer how ice flows and improve projections on how they will evolve in the future. Here we used an inverse approach and developed a new algorithm to infer ice properties from the observed radar data. We applied this technique to the radar data obtained at two EPICA drilling sites where the ice cores were used to validate our results.
Tim Carlsen, Gerit Birnbaum, André Ehrlich, Veit Helm, Evelyn Jäkel, Michael Schäfer, and Manfred Wendisch
The Cryosphere, 14, 3959–3978,Short summary
The angular reflection of solar radiation by snow surfaces is particularly anisotropic and highly variable. We measured the angular reflection from an aircraft using a digital camera in Antarctica in 2013/14 and studied its variability: the anisotropy increases with a lower Sun but decreases for rougher surfaces and larger snow grains. The applied methodology allows for a direct comparison with satellite observations, which generally underestimated the anisotropy measured within this study.
Clemens Schannwell, Reinhard Drews, Todd A. Ehlers, Olaf Eisen, Christoph Mayer, Mika Malinen, Emma C. Smith, and Hannes Eisermann
The Cryosphere, 14, 3917–3934,Short summary
To reduce uncertainties associated with sea level rise projections, an accurate representation of ice flow is paramount. Most ice sheet models rely on simplified versions of the underlying ice flow equations. Due to the high computational costs, ice sheet models based on the complete ice flow equations have been restricted to < 1000 years. Here, we present a new model setup that extends the applicability of such models by an order of magnitude, permitting simulations of 40 000 years.
Alexander H. Weinhart, Johannes Freitag, Maria Hörhold, Sepp Kipfstuhl, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere, 14, 3663–3685,Short summary
From 1 m snow profiles along a traverse on the East Antarctic Plateau, we calculated a representative surface snow density of 355 kg m−3 for this region with an error less than 1.5 %. This density is 10 % higher and density fluctuations seem to happen on smaller scales than climate model outputs suggest. Our study can help improve the parameterization of surface snow density in climate models to reduce the error in future sea level predictions.
Marco Meloni, Jerome Bouffard, Tommaso Parrinello, Geoffrey Dawson, Florent Garnier, Veit Helm, Alessandro Di Bella, Stefan Hendricks, Robert Ricker, Erica Webb, Ben Wright, Karina Nielsen, Sanggyun Lee, Marcello Passaro, Michele Scagliola, Sebastian Bjerregaard Simonsen, Louise Sandberg Sørensen, David Brockley, Steven Baker, Sara Fleury, Jonathan Bamber, Luca Maestri, Henriette Skourup, René Forsberg, and Loretta Mizzi
The Cryosphere, 14, 1889–1907,Short summary
This manuscript aims to describe the evolutions which have been implemented in the new CryoSat Ice processing chain Baseline-D and the validation activities carried out in different domains such as sea ice, land ice and hydrology. This new CryoSat processing Baseline-D will maximise the uptake and use of CryoSat data by scientific users since it offers improved capability for monitoring the complex and multiscale changes over the cryosphere.
Achim Heilig, Olaf Eisen, Martin Schneebeli, Michael MacFerrin, C. Max Stevens, Baptiste Vandecrux, and Konrad Steffen
The Cryosphere, 14, 385–402,Short summary
We investigate the spatial representativeness of point observations of snow accumulation in SW Greenland. Such analyses have rarely been conducted but are necessary to link regional-scale observations from, e.g., remote-sensing data to firn cores and snow pits. The presented data reveal a low regional variability in density but snow depth can vary significantly. It is necessary to combine pits with spatial snow depth data to increase the regional representativeness of accumulation observations.
Clemens Schannwell, Reinhard Drews, Todd A. Ehlers, Olaf Eisen, Christoph Mayer, and Fabien Gillet-Chaulet
The Cryosphere, 13, 2673–2691,Short summary
Ice rises are important ice-sheet features that archive the ice sheet's history in their internal structure. Here we use a 3-D numerical ice-sheet model to simulate mechanisms that lead to changes in the geometry of the internal structure. We find that changes in snowfall result in much larger and faster changes than similar changes in ice-shelf geometry. This result is integral to fully unlocking the potential of ice rises as ice-dynamic archives and potential ice-core drilling sites.
Johannes Sutter, Hubertus Fischer, Klaus Grosfeld, Nanna B. Karlsson, Thomas Kleiner, Brice Van Liefferinge, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere, 13, 2023–2041,Short summary
The Antarctic Ice Sheet may have played an important role in moderating the transition between warm and cold climate epochs over the last million years. We find that the Antarctic Ice Sheet grew considerably about 0.9 Myr ago, a time when ice-age–warm-age cycles changed from a 40 000 to a 100 000 year periodicity. Our findings also suggest that ice as old as 1.5 Myr still exists at the bottom of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet despite the major climate reorganisations in the past.
Anna Winter, Daniel Steinhage, Timothy T. Creyts, Thomas Kleiner, and Olaf Eisen
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 11, 1069–1081,
Baptiste Vandecrux, Michael MacFerrin, Horst Machguth, William T. Colgan, Dirk van As, Achim Heilig, C. Max Stevens, Charalampos Charalampidis, Robert S. Fausto, Elizabeth M. Morris, Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Lora Koenig, Lynn N. Montgomery, Clément Miège, Sebastian B. Simonsen, Thomas Ingeman-Nielsen, and Jason E. Box
The Cryosphere, 13, 845–859,Short summary
The perennial snow, or firn, on the Greenland ice sheet each summer stores part of the meltwater formed at the surface, buffering the ice sheet’s contribution to sea level. We gathered observations of firn air content, indicative of the space available in the firn to retain meltwater, and find that this air content remained stable in cold regions of the firn over the last 65 years but recently decreased significantly in western Greenland.
Tetsuro Taranczewski, Johannes Freitag, Olaf Eisen, Bo Vinther, Sonja Wahl, and Sepp Kipfstuhl
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Preprint withdrawnShort summary
We used melt layers detected in ice cores from the Renland ice cap in East Greenland to find evidence of past climate trends in this region. Our record provides such information for the past 10,000 years. We developed an attempt to increase the reliability of such a record by correcting deformation-induced biases. It proves that such simple to obtain melt records can be used to gather information about paleoclimate especially for regions where climate records are sparse.
Ludwig Schröder, Martin Horwath, Reinhard Dietrich, Veit Helm, Michiel R. van den Broeke, and Stefan R. M. Ligtenberg
The Cryosphere, 13, 427–449,Short summary
We developed an approach to combine measurements of seven satellite altimetry missions over the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Our resulting monthly grids of elevation changes between 1978 and 2017 provide unprecedented details of the long-term and interannual variation. Derived mass changes agree well with contemporaneous data of surface mass balance and satellite gravimetry and show which regions were responsible for the significant accelerations of mass loss in recent years.
Brice Van Liefferinge, Frank Pattyn, Marie G. P. Cavitte, Nanna B. Karlsson, Duncan A. Young, Johannes Sutter, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere, 12, 2773–2787,Short summary
Our paper provides an important review of the state of knowledge for oldest-ice prospection, but also adds new basal geothermal heat flux constraints from recently acquired high-definition radar data sets. This is the first paper to contrast the two primary target regions for oldest ice: Dome C and Dome Fuji. Moreover, we provide statistical comparisons of all available data sets and a summary of the community's criteria for the retrieval of interpretable oldest ice since the 2013 effort.
Nanna B. Karlsson, Tobias Binder, Graeme Eagles, Veit Helm, Frank Pattyn, Brice Van Liefferinge, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere, 12, 2413–2424,Short summary
In this study, we investigate the probability that the Dome Fuji region in East Antarctica contains ice more than 1.5 Ma old. The retrieval of a continuous ice-core record extending beyond 1 Ma is imperative to understand why the frequency of ice ages changed from 40 to 100 ka approximately 1 Ma ago. We use a new radar dataset to improve the ice thickness maps, and apply a thermokinematic model to predict basal temperature and age of the ice. Our results indicate several areas of interest.
Achim Heilig, Olaf Eisen, Michael MacFerrin, Marco Tedesco, and Xavier Fettweis
The Cryosphere, 12, 1851–1866,Short summary
This paper presents data on temporal changes in snow and firn, which were not available before. We present data on water infiltration in the percolation zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet that improve our understanding of liquid water retention in snow and firn and mass transfer. We compare those findings with model simulations. It appears that simulated accumulation in terms of SWE is fairly accurate, while modeling of the individual parameters density and liquid water content is incorrect.
Johanna Kerch, Anja Diez, Ilka Weikusat, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere, 12, 1715–1734,Short summary
We investigate the effect of crystal anisotropy on seismic velocities in glacier ice by calculating seismic phase velocities using the exact c axis angles to describe the crystal orientations in ice-core samples for an alpine and a polar ice core. Our results provide uncertainty estimates for earlier established approximative calculations. Additionally, our findings highlight the variation in seismic velocity at non-vertical incidence as a function of the horizontal azimuth of the seismic plane.
Christoph Florian Schaller, Johannes Freitag, and Olaf Eisen
Clim. Past, 13, 1685–1693,Short summary
In order to interpret the paleoclimatic record stored in the air enclosed in polar ice cores, it is crucial to understand the fundamental lock-in process. In our study, we present the first extensive data set of direct firn microstructure measurements and use it to show that the critical porosity of gas enclosure is independent of the climatic site conditions (such as temperature and accumulation rate). This leads to significant changes in dating and interpretation of ice-core gas records.
Sophie Berger, Reinhard Drews, Veit Helm, Sainan Sun, and Frank Pattyn
The Cryosphere, 11, 2675–2690,Short summary
Floating ice shelves act as a plug for the Antarctic ice sheet. The efficiency of this ice plug depends on how and how much the ocean melts the ice from below. This study relies on satellite imagery and a Lagrangian approach to map in detail the basal mass balance of an Antarctic ice shelf. Although the large-scale melting pattern of the ice shelf agrees with previous studies, our technique successfully detects local variability (< 1 km) in the basal melting of the ice shelf.
Anna Winter, Daniel Steinhage, Emily J. Arnold, Donald D. Blankenship, Marie G. P. Cavitte, Hugh F. J. Corr, John D. Paden, Stefano Urbini, Duncan A. Young, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere, 11, 653–668,
Christoph Florian Schaller, Johannes Freitag, Sepp Kipfstuhl, Thomas Laepple, Hans Christian Steen-Larsen, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere, 10, 1991–2002,Short summary
Along a traverse through North Greenland in May 2015 we collected snow cores up to 2 m in depth and analyzed their properties (e.g., density). A new technique for this sampling and an adapted algorithm for comparing data sets from different positions and aligning stratigraphic features are presented. We find good agreement of the density layering in the snowpack over hundreds of kilometers. This allows the construction of a representative density profile that is statistically validated.
Thomas B. Overly, Robert L. Hawley, Veit Helm, Elizabeth M. Morris, and Rohan N. Chaudhary
The Cryosphere, 10, 1679–1694,Short summary
We demonstrate that snow accumulation rates across the Greenland Ice Sheet, determined from RADAR layers and modeled snow density profiles, are identical to ground-based measurements of snow accumulation. Three regional climate models underestimate snow accumulation compared to RADAR layer estimates. Using RADAR increases spatial coverage and improves accuracy of snow accumulation estimates. Incorporating our results into climate models may reduce uncertainty of sea-level rise estimates.
Sandra Schwegmann, Eero Rinne, Robert Ricker, Stefan Hendricks, and Veit Helm
The Cryosphere, 10, 1415–1425,Short summary
Our study aimed to investigate whether CS-2 and Envisat radar freeboard can be merged without intermission biases in order to obtain a 20-year data set. The comparison revealed a reasonable regional agreement between radar freeboards derived from both sensors. Differences are mostly below 0.1 m for modal freeboard and even less for mean freeboard over winter months (May–October). The highest differences occur in regions with multi-year sea ice and along the coasts.
N. Wever, L. Schmid, A. Heilig, O. Eisen, C. Fierz, and M. Lehning
The Cryosphere, 9, 2271–2293,Short summary
A verification of the physics based SNOWPACK model with field observations showed that typical snowpack properties like density and temperature are adequately simulated. Also two water transport schemes were verified, showing that although Richards equation improves snowpack runoff and several aspects of the internal snowpack structure, the bucket scheme appeared to have a higher agreement with the snow microstructure. The choice of water transport scheme may depend on the intended application.
S. Goeller, V. Helm, M. Thoma, and K. Grosfeld
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript has not been submittedShort summary
The Ross Ice Streams in West Antarctica showed a high variability in the past. We model basal water pathways and catchment areas for present and future ice sheet geometries (gained by applying satellite-derived elevation change rates) in this sector. Thus, we can explain the current ice stream configuration and estimate implications for the next two centuries, where we find that a major basal hydraulic tributary of the Kamb and Whillans IS could be redirected underneath the Bindschadler IS.
A. Diez and O. Eisen
The Cryosphere, 9, 367–384,
A. Diez, O. Eisen, C. Hofstede, A. Lambrecht, C. Mayer, H. Miller, D. Steinhage, T. Binder, and I. Weikusat
The Cryosphere, 9, 385–398,
S. Kowalewski, C. von Savigny, M. Palm, I. C. McDade, and J. Notholt
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 10193–10210,
R. Ricker, S. Hendricks, V. Helm, H. Skourup, and M. Davidson
The Cryosphere, 8, 1607–1622,
V. Helm, A. Humbert, and H. Miller
The Cryosphere, 8, 1539–1559,
L. Gray, D. Burgess, L. Copland, R. Cullen, N. Galin, R. Hawley, and V. Helm
The Cryosphere, 7, 1857–1867,
M. Zygmuntowska, K. Khvorostovsky, V. Helm, and S. Sandven
The Cryosphere, 7, 1315–1324,
Related subject area
Discipline: Ice sheets | Subject: Mass Balance ObsSensitivity of inverse glacial isostatic adjustment estimates over AntarcticaRecent precipitation decrease across the western Greenland ice sheet percolation zoneHow does the ice sheet surface mass balance relate to snowfall? Insights from a ground-based precipitation radar in East AntarcticaSpatial and temporal distributions of surface mass balance between Concordia and Vostok stations, Antarctica, from combined radar and ice core data: first results and detailed error analysis
Matthias O. Willen, Martin Horwath, Ludwig Schröder, Andreas Groh, Stefan R. M. Ligtenberg, Peter Kuipers Munneke, and Michiel R. van den Broeke
The Cryosphere, 14, 349–366,
Gabriel Lewis, Erich Osterberg, Robert Hawley, Hans Peter Marshall, Tate Meehan, Karina Graeter, Forrest McCarthy, Thomas Overly, Zayta Thundercloud, and David Ferris
The Cryosphere, 13, 2797–2815,Short summary
We present accumulation records from sixteen 22–32 m long firn cores and 4436 km of ground-penetrating radar, covering the past 20–60 years of accumulation, collected across the western Greenland Ice Sheet percolation zone. Trends from both radar and firn cores, as well as commonly used regional climate models, show decreasing accumulation over the 1996–2016 period.
Niels Souverijns, Alexandra Gossart, Irina V. Gorodetskaya, Stef Lhermitte, Alexander Mangold, Quentin Laffineur, Andy Delcloo, and Nicole P. M. van Lipzig
The Cryosphere, 12, 1987–2003,Short summary
This work is the first to gain insight into the local surface mass balance over Antarctica using accurate long-term snowfall observations. A non-linear relationship between accumulation and snowfall is discovered, indicating that total surface mass balance measurements are not a good proxy for snowfall over Antarctica. Furthermore, the meteorological drivers causing changes in the local SMB are identified.
Emmanuel Le Meur, Olivier Magand, Laurent Arnaud, Michel Fily, Massimo Frezzotti, Marie Cavitte, Robert Mulvaney, and Stefano Urbini
The Cryosphere, 12, 1831–1850,Short summary
This paper presents surface mass balance measurements from both GPR and ice core data collected during a traverse in a so-far-unexplored area between the DC and Vostok stations. Results presented here will contribute to a better knowledge of the global mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet and thus help in constraining its contribution to sea level rise. Another novelty of the paper resides in the comprehensive error budget proposed for the method used for inferring accumulation rates.
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This study presents estimates of total mass input for the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) over the period 2005–2014 from airborne radar measurements. Our analysis reveals a total mass input similar to an earlier estimate for the period 1985–2009 and same area. This suggests a stationary total mass input contrary to the accelerated mass loss of PIG over the past decades. However, we also find that its uncertainty is highly sensitive to the geostatistical assumptions required for its calculation.
This study presents estimates of total mass input for the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) over the...