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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-286
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-286
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  22 Oct 2020

22 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Satellite altimetry detection of ice shelf-influenced fast ice

Gemma M. Brett1, Daniel Price1, Wolfgang Rack1, and Patricia J. Langhorne2 Gemma M. Brett et al.
  • 1Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • 2Department of Physics, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Abstract. The outflow of supercooled Ice Shelf Water from the conjoined Ross and McMurdo ice shelf cavity augments fast ice thickness and forms a thick sub-ice platelet layer in McMurdo Sound. Here, we investigate whether the CryoSat-2 satellite radar altimeter can detect the higher freeboard caused by the thicker fast ice and the buoyant forcing of the sub-ice platelet layer beneath. Freeboards obtained from CryoSat-2 were compared with four years of drill hole measured sea ice freeboard, snow depth, and sea ice and sub-ice platelet layer thicknesses in McMurdo Sound in November of 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2018. The spatial distribution of higher CryoSat-2 freeboard concurred with the distributions of thicker ice shelf-influenced fast ice and the sub-ice platelet layer. The mean CryoSat-2 freeboard was 0.07–0.09 m higher over the main path of supercooled Ice Shelf Water outflow, in the centre of the sound, relative to the west and east. In this central region, the mean CryoSat-2 derived ice thickness was 35 % larger than the mean drill hole measured fast ice thickness. We attribute this overestimate in satellite altimeter obtained ice thickness to the additional buoyant forcing of the sub-ice platelet layer. We demonstrate the capability of CryoSat-2 to detect higher Ice Shelf Water influenced fast ice freeboard in McMurdo Sound and the wider application of this method as a potential tool to identify regions of ice shelf-influenced fast ice elsewhere on the Antarctic coastline.

Gemma M. Brett et al.

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Gemma M. Brett et al.

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