Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-178
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-178

  12 Jul 2021

12 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Mass evolution of the Antarctic Peninsula over the last two decades from a joint Bayesian inversion

Stephen J. Chuter1, Andrew Zammit-Mangion2, Jonathan Rougier3, Geoffrey Dawson1, and Jonathan L Bamber1 Stephen J. Chuter et al.
  • 1Bristol Glaciology Centre, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  • 2School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
  • 3Rougier Consulting Limited

Abstract. The Antarctic Peninsula has been an increasingly significant contributor to Antarctic Ice Sheet mass losses over the last two decades. However, due to the challenges presented by the topography and geometry of the region, there remain large variations in mass balance estimates from conventional approaches and in assessing the relative contribution of individual ice sheet processes. Here, we use a regionally optimised Bayesian Hierarchical Model joint inversion approach, that combines data from multiple altimetry studies (ENVISAT, ICESat-1, CryoSat-2 swath), gravimetry (GRACE and GRACE-FO) and localised DEM differencing observations, to solve for annual mass trends and their attribution to individual driving processes for the period 2003–2019. The region experienced a mass imbalance rate of −19 ± 1.1 Gt yr−1 between 2003 and 2019, predominantly driven by accelerations in ice dynamic mass losses in the first decade and sustained thereafter. Inter-annual variability is driven by surface processes, particularly in 2016 due to increased precipitation driven by an extreme El Niño, which temporarily returned the sector back to a state of positive mass balance. In the West Palmer Land and the English Coast regions, surface processes are a greater contributor to mass loss than ice dynamics in the early part of the 2010s, although both processes are acting simultaneously. Our results show good agreement with conventional and other combination approaches, improving confidence in the robustness of mass trend estimates, and in turn, understanding of the region’s response to changes in external forcing.

Stephen J. Chuter et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on tc-2021-178', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Sep 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on tc-2021-178', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Sep 2021

Stephen J. Chuter et al.

Stephen J. Chuter et al.

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Short summary
We find the Antarctic Peninsula to have a mean mass loss of 19 ± 1.1 Gt yr−1 over the 2003–2019 period, driven predominantly by changes in ice dynamic flow like due to changes in ocean forcing. This long-term record is crucial to ascertaining the region’s present-day contribution to sea level rise, with the understanding of driving processes enabling better future predictions. Our statistical approach enables us to estimate this previously poorly surveyed regions mass balance more accurately.