Articles | Volume 15, issue 8
Research article
17 Aug 2021
Research article |  | 17 Aug 2021

What is the surface mass balance of Antarctica? An intercomparison of regional climate model estimates

Ruth Mottram, Nicolaj Hansen, Christoph Kittel, J. Melchior van Wessem, Cécile Agosta, Charles Amory, Fredrik Boberg, Willem Jan van de Berg, Xavier Fettweis, Alexandra Gossart, Nicole P. M. van Lipzig, Erik van Meijgaard, Andrew Orr, Tony Phillips, Stuart Webster, Sebastian B. Simonsen, and Niels Souverijns

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Cited articles

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Agosta, C., Amory, C., Kittel, C., Orsi, A., Favier, V., Gallée, H., van den Broeke, M. R., Lenaerts, J. T. M., van Wessem, J. M., van de Berg, W. J., and Fettweis, X.: Estimation of the Antarctic surface mass balance using the regional climate model MAR (1979–2015) and identification of dominant processes, The Cryosphere, 13, 281–296,, 2019. a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l
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Short summary
We compare the calculated surface mass budget (SMB) of Antarctica in five different regional climate models. On average ~ 2000 Gt of snow accumulates annually, but different models vary by ~ 10 %, a difference equivalent to ± 0.5 mm of global sea level rise. All models reproduce observed weather, but there are large differences in regional patterns of snowfall, especially in areas with very few observations, giving greater uncertainty in Antarctic mass budget than previously identified.