Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-230
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2021-230

  27 Aug 2021

27 Aug 2021

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

Basal melt of the southern Filchner Ice Shelf, Antarctica

Ole Zeising1,2, Daniel Steinhage1, Keith W. Nicholls3, Hugh F. J. Corr3, Craig L. Stewart4,a, and Angelika Humbert1,2 Ole Zeising et al.
  • 1Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Department of Geosciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 3British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, Cambridge, UK
  • 4Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • anow at: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand

Abstract. Basal melt of ice shelves is a key factor governing discharge of ice from the Antarctic Ice Sheet as a result of its effects on buttressing. Here, we use radio echo sounding to determine the spatial variability of the basal melt rate of the southern Filchner Ice Shelf, Antarctica along the inflow of Support Force Glacier. We find moderate melt rates with a maximum of 1.13 m a−1 about 50 km downstream of the grounding line. The variability of the melt rates over distances of a few kilometres is low (all but one < 0.15 m a−1 at < 2 km distance), indicating that measurements on coarse observational grids are able to yield a representative melt rate distribution. A comparison with remote sensing based melt rates revealed that, for the study area, large differences were due to inaccuracies in the estimation of vertical strain rates from remote sensing velocity fields. These inaccuracies can be overcome by using modern velocity fields.

Ole Zeising et al.

Status: open (until 22 Oct 2021)

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Ole Zeising et al.

Ole Zeising et al.

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Short summary
Remote sensing-derived basal melt rates of ice shelves are of great importance due to their capability to cover larger areas. We performed in situ measurements with a phase-sensitive radar on the southern Filchner Ice Shelf, showing moderate melt rates and low small scale spatial variability. The comparison with remote sensing-based melt rates revealed large differences caused by the estimation of vertical strain rates from remote sensing velocity fields that modern fields can overcome.