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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-2020-66
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-66
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  30 Mar 2020

30 Mar 2020

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A revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal TC and is expected to appear here in due course.

Impact of coastal East Antarctic ice rises on surface mass balance: insights from observations and modeling

Thore Kausch1, Stef Lhermitte1, Jan T. M. Lenaerts2, Nander Wever2, Mana Inoue3, Frank Pattyn3, Sainan Sun3, Sarah Wauthy3, Jean-Louis Tison3, and Willem Jan van de Berg4 Thore Kausch et al.
  • 1Delft University of Technology, Mekelweg 5, 2628 CD Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, 4001 Discovery Dr., CO 80309 Boulder, USA
  • 3Université Libre de Bruxelles, Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 50, B-1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
  • 4Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC Utrecht, the Netherlands

Abstract. About 20 % of all snow accumulation in Antarctica occurs on the ice shelves. There, ice rises control the spatial surface mass balance (SMB) distribution by inducing snowfall variability and wind erosion due to their topography. Moreover these ice rises buttress the ice flow and represent ideal drilling locations for ice cores. In this study we assess the connection between snowfall variability and wind erosion to provide a better understanding of how ice rises impact SMB variability, how well this is captured in the regional atmospheric climate model RACMO2, and the implications of this SMB variability for ice rises as an ice core drilling site. By combining ground penetrating radar (GPR) profiles from two ice rises in Dronning Maud Land with ice core dating we reconstruct spatial and temporal SMB variations from 1982 to 2017 and compare the observed SMB with output from RACMO2 and SnowModel. Our results show snowfall driven differences of up to 1.5 times higher SMB on the windward side of both ice rises than on the leeward side, as well as a local erosion driven minimum at the ice divide of the ice rises. RACMO2 captures the snowfall driven differences, but overestimates their magnitude, whereas the erosion on the peak can be reproduced by SnowModel with RACMO2 forcing. Observed temporal variability of the average SMBs, retrieved from the GPR data for four time intervals in the 1982–2017 range, are low at the peak of the easternmost ice rise (~ 0.03 m w.e./yr), while being three times higher (~ 0.1 m w.e./yr) on the windward side of the ice rise. This implies that at the peak of the ice rise, higher snowfall, driven by orographic uplift, is balanced out by local erosion. As a consequence of this the SMB recovered from the ice core matches the SMB from the GPR at the peak of the ice rise, but not at the windward side of the ice rise, suggesting that the SMB signal is dampened in the ice core.

Thore Kausch et al.

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Thore Kausch et al.

Thore Kausch et al.

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Short summary
Ice rises are elevated parts of the otherwise flat ice shelf. Here we study the impact of an Antarctic ice rise on the surrounding snow accumulation by combining field data and modelling. Our results show a clear difference in average yearly snow accumulation between the windward side, the leeward side and the peak of the ice rise, due to differences in snowfall and wind erosion. This is relevant for the interpretation of ice core records, which are often drilled on the peak of an ice rise.
Ice rises are elevated parts of the otherwise flat ice shelf. Here we study the impact of an...
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